After a New York drive stalled, Jets kicker Nick Folk appeared to miss a 56-yard field goal.
There was, however, a flag on the play.
Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has been pressed into action by injuries to starters Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play. The 15-yard foul gave the Jets a first down and a much more manageable field goal.
Folk converted the second attempt from 42 yards out and the game was over.
Many fans and members of the media thought the officials stole a potential win from New England:
Now I have to listen to Stephen A. Smith gloat tomorrow about picking the Jets. Or maybe he picked the refs to beat the Patriots.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 20, 2013
However, Fox Sports officiating guru Mike Pereira stated that the officials made the right call:
That is correct call in NE/NYJ game. New rule this year can't push a teammate into the offensive formation on a field goal or try attempt.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 20, 2013
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey broke out the NFL rulebook:
NFL Rule Book 9-1-3(2) "Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation." #Patriots— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) October 20, 2013
Here's the thing. It's always lousy when the officials "decide" the outcome of a game, especially in a nail-biter like the game between the Patriots and Jets.
It may seem like a stupid rule, although given that the Patriots once advanced to the Super Bowl because of one, that particular complaint rings a little hollow.
However, that doesn't change the fact that the rule exists. If Jones knew about it and broke it, then he has no one to blame but himself. After the game, Jones did own up to his mistakes.
Patriot Chris Jones on penalty call. "It's my mistake. It's all my fault."— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) October 20, 2013
Chris Jones was asked if he knew the rule: "We’ve probably talked about it before. It slipped my mind at the time. Now I know it."— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 20, 2013
Were the Patriots "robbed" in Week 7
If he didn't know about the rule, then that's on the coaching staff. When new rules are implemented, it's their responsibility to make sure the players are aware of them.
In any event, saying that this one play was responsible for the Patriots losing the game isn't exactly accurate anyway.
Tom Brady completed less than half his passes, threw an interception and fumbled twice. The defense surrendered a 100-yard rushing day to Chris Ivory and nearly 100 yards to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.
The alignment the Patriots ran against the Jets was different, but officials were told to look for a push from New England's FG block team.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 21, 2013
I'm told Jets coaches did alert officials to several things to watch for w/Pats' special teams, inc potential FG push, before Sunday's game.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 21, 2013
The zebras, as they often do, make for a convenient scapegoat, especially when a penalty is called that no one has ever heard of.
But when it comes to the Patriots' loss on Sunday, there's plenty of blame to go around.