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Patriots vs. Jets: Patrick Chung's Fake Punt Call Was Ill-Advised

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJanuary 17, 2011

NOTE: This article was first seen at PatriotsPlus.net.

It was fourth-and-four on New England's 38 yard-line with just 1:06 left in the half. 

New England's punter Zoltan Mesko, along with the rest of the punt team, trotted onto the field looking to pin the Jets deep. 

In many fans' eyes, the game was probably going to go into half with the score 7-3 New York and the Patriots would get the ball back at the start of the second half. However, things didn't go accordingly. 

The Patriots lined up to punt, but it appeared the personal protector, Patrick Chung, noticed something with the Jets alignment and decided to audible to a fake punt. 

As Chung audibled to a direct snap to himself, he mis-handled the snap, failed to gain four yards and turned it over on downs. 

The Jets, with great field position, capitalized on New England's mistake. Quarterback Mark Sanchez gained a few quick yards and then threw a quick slant to Braylon Edwards and scored a touchdown as he dragged Devin McCourty into the end-zone.

The camera caught a quick glimpse of Bill Belichick talking and very upset with Chung on the sidelines.   

If Chung never audibled, and the Patriots just punted it away, the game could have ended differently. New England would have been only down 7-3 at half, and they would have gotten the ball first in the second half. A perfect chance to drive down the field and gain the lead. 

The Patriots coaching staff gave Chung the ability to make that call, but why on Earth would you decide to do it there?

Chung talked to the media at the end of the game and took full responsibility of the bad call.  

"That's part of the game. It's all on me. Not Bill [Belichick], not Scotty O [special teams coach Scott O'Brien], none of them, I take full responsibility."

Chung simply wanted to say, "Blame me."

When Belichick was asked about the play, all he could say was "bad mistake."

No one knows what would have happened if Chung never audibled, but you cannot blame the whole game on Chung. 

The Patriots got man-handled physically and were just pushed around. 

The Jets were the better team Sunday. 

 

Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @  TonySantorsa

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