Apparently, two did play that game.
A day after Rex Ryan implied he knew all about the Patriots' shady special-teams tactics, Bill Belichick told Boston writers the Jets also were guilty of using the illegal "push'' tactic on field-goal attempts.
Asked on a conference call Tuesday if he was bothered that the Jets reportedly asked officials to keep an eye on his players, Belichick said: "Well, I mean, since they were using the play themselves, I don't even know about all that. But basically we're just moving on here.''
Pushgate is the latest in a slew of controversies spawned by the hatred between the Jets and Patriots (see: Spygate, 2007). Chris Jones' shove of teammate Will Svitek was the difference-maker in the Jets' 30-27 overtime win Sunday, the latest twist in their long-standing rivalry.
Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3, (b) 2 in the NFL rule book states "defensive players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.''
A review of tape shows Jets linebacker Quinton Coples extending his arm and pushing teammate Muhammad Wilkerson on Stephen Gostkowski's tying 44-yard field goal near the end of regulation. It's unclear whether Coples was acting on his own or was told to do so -- but Jets defensive players Demario Davis and Damon Harrison said Monday that the team was informed of the newly implemented "push'' rule in training camp and reminded of it last week. No flag was thrown on Gostkowski's kick.
When told of Belichick's comments Tuesday, Coples said he didn't want to get in a "back and forth argument or whatever.
"There was no film or footage of that to prove we did that,'' Coples said at a community service event in Morris Plains, N.J., with several teammates.
Coples said coordinator Ben Kotwica does "a tremendous job'' of explaining what is and isn't permitted on special teams, but he wouldn't confirm or deny that he pushed Wilkerson.
"We beat the Patriots,'' Coples said. "We move forward. They can say whatever. We won. We beat them. We won't see them no more this regular season. We're moving forward as far as Cincinnati.''
The Patriots used the same tactic Sunday, however, in more egregious fashion. Jones was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for pushing Svitek during Nick Folk's 56-yard attempt in overtime. The call gave the Jets a first down and led to Folk's 42-yard game-winner.
After the game, Jets guard Willie Colon said he overheard the officials say they had warned the Patriots about pushing on a previous field-goal attempt, a claim several New England players have since denied in the Boston media. According to the Boston Herald, "multiple Pats on the field-goal team'' said it would have been "stupid'' for them to ignore such a warning.
Ryan refused to confirm or deny that he tipped off the refs, but he said just enough Monday to get his message across.
"Let's just put it this way: We watch every single play,'' Ryan said. " . . . We're going to watch every play of the opponent. That's what we do as coaches. We're aware of opponents' tendencies and everything else.''
Notes & quotes: Geno Smith again is a Rookie of the Week nominee. The Jets quarterback, who received the honor after the Week 5 win over the Falcons, threw for 233 yards, rushed for 32 and had one passing and one rushing touchdown. He also was nominated for the Never Say Never Moment of Week 7 . . . Chris Ivory was nominated for Ground Player of the Week after career highs in rushing yards (104) and carries (34) . . . The Rams reportedly plan to sign quarterback Brady Quinn following his workout Tuesday. Quarterback David Garrard replaced Quinn on the Jets' roster Monday.
With Anthony Rieber