An obscure penalty cost the Patriots a chance at winning on Sunday, and Bill Belichick is taking full responsibility for the error.
Rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the overtime because he got behind teammate Will Svitek and pushed him toward the line of scrimmage during a failed field goal attempt. The penalty put the Jets in great field position to retry the kick and kept Tom Brady from attempting to lead a game-winning drive for a second straight week.
Belichick isn’t blaming Jones for the penalty at all, though, instead taking responsibility upon himself for the loss.
“I think Chris is obviously trying to do the right thing by stepping up and taking responsibility, but that’s not his responsibility. It’s ours.” Belichick said during a conference call on Monday. “We just have to do a better job of coaching that. It’s not his fault, that’s one me, the coaching staff. We just have to do a better job there.”
The rule is new to the NFL this season, stating that a defensive player cannot “push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.” The rule was originally proposed with a stipulation prohibition only players on the “second level” of the defense, but it was passed to include all defensive players. Belichick and the Patriots apparently misinterpreted the rule, and he admitted as much on Monday.
“Obviously, we are wrong,” Belichick said. “What else is there to say? We’re wrong.”