When the NFL announced rule changes this offseason, Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 didn't draw nearly as much attention as the Tuck Rule or the Crown of Helmet Rule. (All names not official.) But it made a big difference Sunday, giving the Jets new life after Patriots rookie Chris Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a missed Nick Folk field goal.
Jones, as helpfully notated in the GIF below -- via The Big Lead -- shoved a teammate into the pile in an attempt to blow up the Jets formation and block the field goal.
That was a violation of the aforementioned rule, it cost the Patriots 15 yards and it set up the Jets for a game-winning kick just a few minutes later.
And it was the correct call. From the 2013 NFL Rule Book, with "Team B," of course, being the Patriots (or "defense") in this instance:
"Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation"
What makes it especially painful -- and what could make Jones endure an awkward conversation with Bill Belichick this week -- is that the push was premeditated.
"It was just something that I decided to do," Jones said of the shove.
Jones didn't necessarily ruin the game for New England. There wasn't a 100 percent chance they'd score if they got the ball back from New York following Folk's miss. And they screwed up enough in regulation where a single play shouldn't determine the full outcome.
But it was definitely an error in judgment that will haunt the rookie for a bit. And it's a reminder that even the most innocuous rule changes can have major consequences.
|Colts 39, Broncos 33|
|F-||"F" is for "Freeman and holy cow was Josh Freeman terrible on Monday night. The Vikings had no business starting him against the Giants and it might've cost them a win. They didn't use Adrian Peterson enough either.|
|C-||They won so that's good. But this wasn't a pretty game for New York, not that they care after finally winning their first game. But we didn't learn anything about their defense in this game and I'm not sure we should feel better about their defense either.|
|Colts 39, Broncos 33|
|C+||Peyton Manning didn't look the same after getting jacked by Robert Mathis and that sack for a safety cost the Broncos a nine-point swing. They eventually managed to make up most of the ground but it was too little too late. Tough homecoming game.|
|A-||What a win. Denver stormed back late but the Colts put a whipping on the Broncos early, thanks in large part to Andrew Luck doing Andrew Luck things. The defense was incredibly impressive as well. Losing Reggie Wayne would be a massive blow to this team.|
|49ers 31, Titans 17|
|B+||Remember when we were really worried about the 49ers? Man that feels like a long time ago. They took care of business Sunday, turning Colin Kaepernick loose in the running game and shutting out the Titans for the first three quarters.|
|C-||17 fourth-quarter points is nice and all, but this game was out of hand early. Nice of Jake Locker to toss some throws late and Chris Johnson to score but not a good effort at all.|
|Chiefs 17, Texans 16|
|B-||Decent first effort for Case Keenum, even if he was sacked a bunch during this matchup. Arian Foster getting hurt is a major concern and Ben Tate didn't look great before getting banged up. Houston nearly got off the schnide though.|
|B||Pretty sloppy game on offense for the Chiefs, as Alex Smith didn't "manage" particularly well (and threw a pick, though he did rush for a TD) and Jamaal Charles fumbled again. This defense is an absolute bear though.|
|Steelers 19, Ravens 16|
|C+||Ray Rice couldn't get going on the ground again and the running game remains a concern. Joe Flacco wasn't stretching the field well on Sunday.|
|B+||Massive win for Pittsburgh to hang around in the AFC North. Le'Veon Bell ran the ball well and Ben Roethlisberger had some big plays as well as an efficient game.|
|Packers 31, Browns 13|
|D-||Brandon Weeden is a nightmare for this team. Josh Gordon got locked down. Willis McGahee is very old. If you're not putting up any points against Aaron Rodgers it won't matter much what your team's doing defensively.|
|B+||Eddie Lacy keeps coming on strong, Aaron Rodges was doing Aaron Rodgers things and Jarrett Boykin was the latest random Packers receiver to have a big game. Kudos to this defense for having a very nice effort in an easy win.|
|Falcons 31, Buccaneers 23|
|C-||Not a horrible day for Mike Glennon, who made some nice passes, even if his yards per attempt was below 6 again. Doug Martin's injury hurts but the real burner is a Buccaneers defense that couldn't stop a severely depleted Falcons team.|
|B+||It's hard to have a "huge win" coming off your bye, at home and against a winless team but this was big for Atlanta considering Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Julio Jones and Sam Baker were all absent. Harry Douglas was big.|
|Redskins 45, Bears 41|
|C||These aren't your brother's Bears. The defense was non-existent for Chicago again on Sunday as the Redskins had their way. Jay Cutler going down was a huge blow and it could be worse depending on the severity.|
|B||Not a strong defensive effort, even though Brian Orakpo had an INT for a TD. But Roy Helu ran for three scores, Robert Griffin III appears to be getting his running mojo back and rookie Jordan Reed emerged Sunday as a major weapon for Washington.|
|Cowboys 17, Eagles 3|
|B||The offense didn't do nearly what we though it would against a weak Eagles defense. Tony Romo had a pair of picks and Joseph Randle couldn't get it going in the run game. But the defense absolutely stifled Philly and eventually knocked out Nick Foles before picking off Matt Barkley three times.|
|F||Three points, Chip Kelly? Yeesh. Nick Foles went 11-for-29 and 80 yards, meaning he had a 2.76 yards per attempt average Sunday. That is ... something. Matt Barkley replaced him and promptly threw three interceptions in garbage time. Woof.|
|Jets 30, Patriots 27|
|D||Rob Gronkowski being back was nice and he had a very good day, catching eight passes for 114 yards. He was clearly Tom Brady's preferred target. But New England's defense -- without Aqib Talib, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo -- couldn't stop the Jets.|
|B+||Massive win brings Rex Ryan's squad within one game of the AFC East lead. Chris Ivory pounded the rock, Geno Smith did some quality things in the air and on the ground, and the defense held when it needed to.|
|Bills 23, Dolphins 21|
|B||Thaddeus Lewis was far from perfect and Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller didn't run well. So not much to love from the offense. But the defense put up some points, and even though they gave up three passing touchdowns, they also smothered the Dolphins on that side of the ball most of the day.|
|D||Brandon Gibson was a rare bright spot for a team that struggled. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas could get the run game rolling, and Ryan Tannehill was pressured too much. The defense couldn't stop a team led by a former Duke quarterback.|
|Chargers 24, Jaguars 6|
|B+||Philip Rivers was efficient once again, Ryan Mathews ran well for the second week in a row and the defense kept Jacksonville out of the end zone. Easy opponent, but traveling across the country on a short week isn't exactly easy.|
|D-||Another pretty lifeless loss for the Jags, who didn't score a touchdown. The bar is set very low for them, but they couldn't do much on either side of the ball.|
|Panthers 30, Rams 15|
|D+||The Rams were apparently getting pretty aggressive with their physical play in Charlotte on Sunday, but it didn't do them much good. Sam Bradford's first pass attempt was a pick six and he ultimately left with a knee injury. Chris Long was ejected.|
|B+||Really efficient day for Cam Newton, who averaged 12 yards per attempt passing. Carolina's defense had another huge day|
|Bengals 27, Lions 24|
|B+||Massive game for Andy Dalton who finished 24 of 34 for 374 yards and three touchdowns. A.J. Green is a beast. Not the best day for the Bengals defense, but to go on the road and win a shootout like this is extremely impressive. Leon Hall's Achilles injury could be a major blow.|
|C+||Calvin Johnson is an absolute monster, but he can't do everything by himself. The Lions couldn't run well against Cincy and it definitely didn't help matters that they kept blowing coverages and got torched by Andy Dalton.|
|Seahawks 34, Cardinals 22|
|B+||Seattle gave no reason for us to believe that it's not one of the best teams in the NFC. Sure, Arizona made a nice drive in the middle of the fourth quarter to make the score closer, but make no mistake, the Seahawks were dominant.|
|C-||The offensive line was pitiful, Carson Palmer wasn't much better and the defense had a tough time stopping Russell Wilson. Overall, this was a terrible night in front of the home crowd, even if the score is a little more palatable.|
Ed Note: Tip of the cap to colleague Josh Katzowitz for Thursday's grades.