When Jets kicker Nick Folk lined up for a 56-yard field goal Sunday in overtime, Patriots rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones had an idea: He would push fellow lineman Will Svitek into Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum to disrupt the attempt.
The only problem: The maneuver was outlawed by an NFL rule that took effect this season. Jones was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, the first time it has been flagged this season, the NFL said Sunday night.
Instead of a missed field-goal try, the Jets were awarded a first down at the New England 23-yard line.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, as you might imagine, was livid. Instead of New England taking over at its own 46, the Jets kept the ball and were in even better field-goal position than before. Four snaps later, Folk kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Jets a 30-27 victory at MetLife Stadium.
Belichick said he didn't think a penalty was warranted, but Jones 'fessed up to violating the new rule.
"It skipped out of my mind," said Jones, who had two sacks in an otherwise impressive day. "It was my mistake. Nobody else's. I've just got to man up to it and fix it next time."
Jones said he "was just trying to get that extra push in the middle . . . Just trying to get that extra little oomph to get up there . . . I was confused at first. Didn't know what was going on. I figured out what it was and I was like, 'Oh, that's my fault.' "
The Patriots still are 5-2 and in first place in the AFC East. So Jones probably won't go down in New England sports history as a Bill Buckner type of goat.
But that doesn't mean the Patriots were happy with losing after holding a 21-10 halftime lead. On the first possession of the second half, Brady did the almost unthinkable by throwing an interception that was returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Antonio Allen.
"No excuses," Brady said. "We just didn't play well. We have to do a better job out there."
Of Allen's pick, Brady said: "The guy made a good play. That's a ball I shouldn't throw. You can't do that -- throw interceptions for touchdowns."
Brady's pass was intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was targeted 17 times and caught eight balls for 114 yards in his first game of the season after multiple surgeries on his forearm and a back procedure.
"I just didn't feel like we did anything well enough, like we need to do it," Belichick said. "Coaching, playing, offense, defense, special teams, you name it. We just made too many mistakes."
Asked if he thought the penalty was a legitimate call, Belichick said: "We weren't on the second level when they pushed him, [so] no . . . I don't think we did that."
The new rule was put into place to protect the long snapper, whom the NFL considers to be in a "defenseless" position on kicks.
"A teammate cannot push a teammate into the opponent's formation," referee Jerome Boger told a pool reporter. "The umpire's flag went up almost instantaneously as he observed the action. We just enforced it as he called it."