Please, don’t everyone weep for the New England Patriots at once. In a year in which the league finally got around to eliminating the Tuck Rule, it was another change to the rulebook that bit New England today. It was kind of an afterthought compared to the other changes this offseason. In addition to the Tuck Rule elimination, those changes included more restrictions on helmet contact and defenseless players, and changes to the replay rules in light of what happened in Detroit last year against Houston. The rule prohibiting defenders from pushing fellow teammates on kick blocks hardly raised an eyebrow.
You can bet it will be talked about now.
Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones came in behind a teammate in violation of the rule. It likely had no impact on the missed field goal by Folk, but it was definitely correctly assessed. An obscure rule and the Patriots, so sad to lose that way. With the new opportunity after the penalty, Folk ended the game and brought the Jets to 4-3.
[UPDATE: Because someone on Twitter is telling me that you must push the teammate into the backfield, here is the actual rule. Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3: “Team B players [i.e., the defending team] cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.
Penalty: For unnecessary roughness: Loss of 15 yards.”]