Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick took defensive lineman Chris Jones off the hook Monday, 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.
Belichick 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 prior 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 Patriots 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 made their attempt 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.
On Monday, Belichick was asked a follow-up question on the play in the game against the Jets, specific to his remarks Sunday about Jones not being on the second level.
“Obviously we are wrong,” he said, before adding: “It’s our job to understand the rules. Whatever the bottom line is, we didn’t do it properly.”
Asked whether it was a spur-of-the-moment type of decision by Jones, Belichick turned things back to the coaching staff.
“We’ve got to coach it better. What he did was basically what he was being told to do,” he said.
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