Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Bill Belichick: Jets pushed, too
By Rich Cimini
PushGate took another turn Tuesday, with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick firing back at the New York Jets.
Belichick, in a conference call with Boston reporters, said the Jets were guilty of using the same illegal pushing tactic on field goals that got the Patriots busted in overtime. Asked if he's bothered by a news report that said the Jets' sideline alerted the officials to keep a close eye on the pushy Patriots, Belichick replied:
"Well, I mean, since they were using the play themselves, I don't even know about all that. But basically we're just moving on here."
It was a classic Belichick response: He wanted to turn the page, but he managed to include a snarky and incriminating comment about the Jets.
Clearly, he was referring to Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski's 44-yard field goal at the end of regulation. On that play, video replays from different angles show that the Jets' Quinton Coples extended his right arm and pushed teammate Muhammad Wilkerson from behind toward the Patriots' formation.
Wilkerson lined up in the A-gap between long-snapper Danny Aiken and RG Logan Mankins. Coples was to Wilkerson's left. On the snap, Coples didn't fire off the ball as quickly as Wilkerson, delaying for a split second. Coples used his right forearm on Wilkerson's back. Wilkerson split Aiken and Mankins and wound up getting lifted off his feet. He landed awkwardly.
Two officials were standing 5 yards away, behind the Jets' rush, and there was no penalty. Coples' push wasn't nearly as egregious as Chris Jones' push of Patriots teammate Will Svitek in overtime, resulting in a 15-yard penalty that gave the Jets another shot at a field goal and cost the Patriots the game. But there was contact. The officials evidently didn't think there was enough to warrant a flag.
It's not a surprise that Belichick raised the issue. It's always tit for tat between the Jets and the Patriots, and it had to gall him to have this happen against the Jets, of all teams. There are 16 years of enmity between the two franchises, and Belichick has been involved in most of it.