The NFL will be looking into the melee at the end of Thursday night’s 13-10 Patriots win over the Jets, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The conflict started after center Nick Mangold dove to tackle cornerback Aqib Talib, who had intercepted Geno Smith with 48 seconds left in the game. Patriots players thought it was a cheap shot, while Mangold and coach Rex Ryan said in was a legal and unintentionally low tackle. Mangold was issued a 15-yard personal foul, and took heat from Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the sideline.
On Friday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said Belichick should have known Mangold wouldn’t take a cheap shot on another player.
"Look, I've yelled at his players, too," Ryan said on 98.7 ESPN New York. "That's part of it. A lot of that stuff happens. Yelling at my player that he did something intentional, that's not the case. Nick wasn't trying to injure the guy or hit him out of bounds or anything else. That wasn't the case. Mangold isn't that kind of player and Belichick should know better than that. I promise you he does."
The league will also look at the ensuing scrum, in which LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and RG Willie Colon appeared in replays to throw punches at Patriots players, and Colon was cited for shoving a referee. The two, who were just a small part of the fracas, were ejected. No Patriots players were disciplined and Ryan later complained that, “apparently our team was the only one involved in it.”
Both Colon and Ferguson claimed not to remember exactly what happened in the scrum. Both could be subject to a fine or possibly a suspension from the NFL this week. The league's VP of football operations will evaluate the tape.
In the less-likely event that an offensive lineman is suspended, it could be tricky for the Jets to replace him. Chris Ivory cited solid line play as the reason the Jets had more success running the ball in Week 2, but after the starting five there is a bit of a drop-off in experience. Brian Winters, Will Campbell, Caleb Schlauderaff and rookie Oday Aboushi are the backups.
There haven’t been a lot of incidents like this one in recent Jets history, so the chances that one of them will be harshly disciplined seems more remote. Ryan likes to get his players fired up. He once sent offensive lineman Rob Turner into a training camp practice to tangle with Vernon Gholston as documented by "Hard Knocks" that year, but the waning seconds of the fourth quarter may not offer the same kind of emotional return.
There was no place to take that energy, except the Gillette Stadium visiting locker room after a loss.