Patrick Chung left the Patriots’ locker room after Sunday’s loss to the Jets without speaking to the media, not wanting to get into his bumbled fake punt that directly led to a Jets touchdown.
But Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko confirmed that it was Chung who called the play.
“We trust the decision Patrick makes,” Mesko said. “It just didn’t work out on that particular occasion. The coaches trust him to run it and that’s why they give him the green light if he has it.”
Chung didn’t have it, though: After initially dropping the snap, he was tackled at the line of scrimmage. Just as Jets punter Steve Weatherford made a costly error during the regular season when he called his own fake punt, the Jets benefited from Chung’s costly error, as it gave New York the ball at the 37-yard line. Four plays later, Jets receiver Braylon Edwards scored a touchdown to give the Jets a 14-3 lead before halftime.
Ultimately, however, if it was Chung’s mistake, it was also a mistake on the part of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who gave Chung the authority to make the call. Belichick had a terse exchange with reporters after the game about the play. Here’s the transcript:
Q: What was the thought process on the fake punt?
BB: We just made a bad mistake on the play. Just a bad mistake.
Q: A bad mistake in calling it or a bad mistake in execution?
BB: I’m not even going into it.
Q: It was a pretty important play.
BB: It was a bad mistake. I just said that. . . .
Q: Did you sign off on the fake punt?
BB: I’ve said all I’m going to say about that.