FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Bill Belichick is taking the blame for the overtime penalty that led to the Patriots' latest loss.
There's still plenty to go around for his team's mistake-filled
Tom Brady and the offense continued to struggle. The battered defense
couldn't contain Geno Smith.
Even Rob Gronkowski failed to catch a key pass in his much-anticipated
return from offseason forearm and back surgeries.
The result: a 30-27 overtime loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.
"Just a lot of plays we left out there that we have to, moving forward,
learn from," New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich said Monday.
The most glaring was the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on rookie
defensive tackle Chris Jones as Nick Folk tried — and missed — a
56-yard field goal attempt.
Jones was called for violating a new rule this year that prohibits a
defensive player from pushing a teammate forward into the offensive
formation on a field-goal try.
So Folk got another shot two minutes later and connected on a 42-yarder
for the victory.
Afterward, Jones, who didn't join the Patriots until he was claimed off
waivers Sept. 11, blamed himself.
On Monday, his coach absolved him.
"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. "We just have to do a better job of coaching
that. It's not his fault, that's on me (and) the coaching staff."
And, Belichick said, "What he did was basically what he was being told
After the game, Belichick was upset that the call was made. He said the
push didn't come from the second level of the defense, the group behind
the front line. But the rule doesn't mention where the player who does
the prohibited pushing is lined up.
"Obviously, we are wrong," he said Monday. "What else is there to say?
His players were eager to move past that. They're focusing on next
Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins in what suddenly looms as a
key game in the AFC East that New England has dominated for a decade.
The Patriots (5-2) lead the Jets by one game, the Dolphins by 1½ games
and the Buffalo Bills by two.
"You'd have to ask Bill about the (penalty) call," safety Steve Gregory
said. "I've moved on. I'm on Miami now."
"I want to move past it because it's over with," Ninkovich said. "You
live and you learn and now we're looking forward to Miami and just
leaving the Jets behind."
Especially with all those mistakes.
On offense, the Patriots were 1 for 12 on third-down conversions and
trailed nearly 2-to-1 in time of possession. Brady completed fewer than
half his passes for the third time this season, already his
He did, however, throw a pick-6 when Antonio Allen intercepted a pass
intended for Gronkowski and returned it 23 yards.
"That's a ball I shouldn't throw," Brady said. "You can't do that,
throw interceptions for touchdowns."
On defense, Ninkovich let Smith scramble past him for an 8-yard
touchdown and a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.
"With a (quarterback) that can run, as a defensive lineman it's our job
to keep him in the pocket," he said. "That's my fault."
Gronkowski was supposed to give the offense a big lift. And he did
catch eight of the 17 passes thrown his way.
"He opens it up for the outside receivers," wide receiver Aaron Dobson
said. "He's a big target in the middle of the field so I feel like
defenses have to respect that."
But Gronkowski couldn't make a one-handed catch down the middle of the
field with the ball at the Jets 26-yard line with 36 seconds left and
the Patriots trailing 27-24. They had to settle for a tying field goal.
"I had it. I brought it in. And I dropped it," he said.
But the play that probably will be remembered the most was the pushing
penalty that was called for the first time against any team.
"I don't really know what was going on," Dobson said, "but it was
definitely a tough thing just to have it happen like that at the end of
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