The Patriots' latest come-from-behind win, this time against the Jets, officially fell short when Nick Folk stroked a 42-yard field goal with 5:07 left in overtime. But the writing was on the wall three plays earlier when Folk missed a 56-yarder that would've given the Patriots the ball on their 46-yard line.
One problem: New England defensive lineman Chris Jones was flagged for a little known rule, New York was awarded a first down and the drive continued.
Rule 18.104.22.168 states that "Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation," which is what Jones did.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, predictably dour, disagreed with the call.
"We weren't on the second level when we pushed him, no," Belichick said after the game. "You can't push from the second level. I didn't think we did that."
VP of officiating Dean Blandino explained the rule that has been on the books since the offseason.
"When you look at the play, you can see New England No. 94 pushing New England No. 74 into the (offensive) formation," he said, via NFL.com. "That's a violation of the rule, it was put in for player safety, and it is the correct call."
The MMQB.com's Greg Bedard tweeted that examples of the violation the league showed coaches during the offseason were of linebackers lining up behind defensive lineman. But according to Blandino's explanation, Jones, a defensive lineman, still should have been flagged.
Jones was asked after the game what happened.
"It was something we talked about probably during camp," the rookie said, via MassLive.com's Nick Underhill. "It skipped out of my mind. It was my mistake and nobody else's. I just got to man up to it and fix it next time. …
"Obviously we lost, and it sucks," Jones continued. "It's going to hurt for a little bit, but we just got to bounce back next week."