Chris Jones’s blocked kick is sweet revenge against Jets
FOXBOROUGH — Chris Jones heard the ping that all players hope to hear when they’re rushing a field-goal attempt.
It was the sweet sound of the football slamming into his outstretched hand as he blocked Nick Folk’s 58-yard attempt.
The ball spun harmlessly on its end as it hit the turf and time expired, allowing the Patriots to hold on for a 27-25 victory over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium Thursday night.
Jones raced to the sideline, where assistant special teams coach Joe Judge affirmed for the second-year player that he had in fact blocked the kick.
“That’s the football noise, the double ping,” Jones said. “It really became a reality when Joe Judge came up to me and told me.”
Karma has a weird way of working itself out sometimes.
The last time Jones lined up to block a potential winning field goal against Folk was last October, he ended up on the wrong end of what is better remembered as a sports trivia question.
Who was the first NFL player called for a “pushing’’ penalty?
That would be Jones, who was flagged for pushing one of his players into the line as Folk missed a 56-yard attempt in overtime.
After the 15-yard penalty, Folk hit a 42-yarder for the 30-27 victory.
Just three days to the one-year anniversary of Jones’s untimely penalty, he redeemed himself.
Jones feigned ignorance when asked if he knew about the quirky symmetry.
“Honestly, it’s just good to get a win,” Jones said. “Always good to beat a division rival. A few people have told me about it, so I had a chance to think about it. It feels good.’’
Coach Bill Belichick, often reserved when asked about anything that invokes emotion, was happy to see the irony in Jones’s play.
“[I’m] obviously really happy for Chris at the end,” Belichick said. “After what happened last year, I thought it was so fitting that he made that play. That was awesome.”
Folk had been solid throughout Thursday’s game, having converted 4 of 4 attempts entering the final drive.
While the Jets drove into the Patriots’ end seemingly at will, they couldn’t muster a touchdown until after all four of Folk’s 3-pointers, which came from 22, 47, 46, and 27 yards.
Folk entered Thursday’s game a perfect 9 for 9 on attempts, with four in the 40-yard range and a long of 52.
“I tried to drive it a little bit,” Folk said of his stymied attempt. “I was told my line was at the 40, so I tried to give it a good ride. I felt like I hit it pretty good — it’s just a bummer that it didn’t get past 8 yards.”
The only thing on Jones’s mind on the play was to get a good push.
“I was just trying to get as deep in the pocket as I can and just get up and get my hands up,’’ Jones said. “God-willing I blocked it and that’s what happened. I knew he was plus-50.
“They were pretty stout. It was just coming down to will at the end. You just had to see who could get the most push on the front and we ended up getting it.”
The Jets started their final drive at their own 12-yard line with a minute and 6 seconds on the clock and no timeouts.
Geno Smith completed 5 of 6 passes as he guided the Jets up field, his last completion a 5-yard dump to Chris Ivory that got the Jets to the 40.
It would’ve been a long hit for Folk, but the Jets’ kicker had been strong all night.
The Patriots even inserted offensive tackle Nate Solder into the play to try and create a push up front.
When Jones delivered, special teams captain Matthew Slater was elated.
“I don’t think there will ever be one bigger than it was tonight,” Slater said. “Game-winning field goal attempt, and for those guys to execute the way they did, it was awesome.’’
It was the Patriots’ second block of the season. Chandler Jones returned one for a touchdown against the Vikings.
“[Special teams coach] Scott [O’Brien] works so hard with those guys and they really work at it and it’s paying off for us. It’s exciting to see. Scott has those guys coached up and what he wants. They executed to a T tonight.”