FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Chris Jones' block of Nick Folk's potential winning field-goal try Thursday night was the ultimate gut punch for Jets fans. It sealed the Patriots' 27-25 win, and the actions of a game official before the block have Jets fans fuming.
On Folk's 58-yard attempt, Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower stood over Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum. But by rule, when a team is in a kicking formation, a defensive player within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage must have his entire body outside the snapper's shoulder pads at the snap. An official moved Hightower over, no flag was thrown and Jones blocked Folk's kick.
"This is a standard officiating mechanic,'' vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on NFL Network Friday morning. "We call it preventative officiating. Because it's a player safety rule, we're trying to avoid a situation before it happens so umpires will get in there and move that player out of there.''
Blandino said Hightower was approaching the line of scrimmage to call out a play. " . . . This is really no different than the line of scrimmage officials pointing out the line to the wideouts and it's a standard mechanic,'' he said. "Not something that would be unusual by any means."
Rex Ryan said he had no issues with the non-call.
"That is the best officiating crew in the league, in my opinion," he said.
This was the second straight Jets-Pats game that involved Jones and unusual field-goal play. Last October, he blocked a 56-yard field-goal attempt by Folk in overtime but was called for a 15-yard penalty for pushing teammate Will Svitek into the line of scrimmage. Folk then nailed the kick and the Jets won, 30-27, at MetLife Stadium.