Bill Belichick took defensive lineman Chris Jones off the hook Monday by admitting he was “wrong” when he said Sunday he didn’t believe his team committed a penalty on a pivotal missed field goal attempt by the New York Jets in overtime.
The New England Patriots coach said after Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the Jets that he didn’t think it was a penalty against Jones for pushing a teammate on Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt because Jones wasn’t on the second level of the defense.
Given another chance after the penalty, Folk converted from 42 yards with 5:07 left to give the Jets the win. Folk attempted and made two field goals in regulation against the Patriots as well. New England did not use the same technique on the previous field goal attempts, however. Jones took responsibility after the game, but in revisiting the play on his weekly day-after-game conference call Monday, Belichick changed his stance.
“On the field goal play at the end, Chris is obviously trying to do the right thing by stepping up and taking responsibility,” Belichick said. “But that’s not his responsibility. That’s ours. I just have to do a better job of coaching that. That’s not his fault.”
The wire service photo from the Patriots’ game against the Saints in Week 6 seems to show that New England had used the same play — with the same two players (Jones looping behind Will Svitek) — on the New Orleans Saints’ 39-yard field goal on Oct. 13 with 2:24 remaining in the game. No penalty was called then.
The Saints tried to make the score 27-23. But if the officials had called a penalty, the Saints could have extended the drive and possibly run out the clock so the Patriots wouldn’t have had a chance to win the game late, which they did when Tom Brady connected with Kenbrell Thompkins on a 17-yard touchdown strike, giving New England a 30-27 victory.
Rob Ryan, the brother of Jets coach Rex Ryan, is the Saints’ defensive coordinator.
The Jets’ sideline, aware that the Patriots had previously used the pushing technique, alerted the officiating crew during Sunday’s game to watch out for it, according to a person familiar with the situation.
“Obviously we are wrong. It’s our job to understand the rules. Whatever the bottom line is, we didn’t do it properly,” Belichick added.