New York Jets offensive linemen picked up three penalties and two ejections on one of the final plays of their 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots Thursday night.
Geno Smith threw his third interception of the fourth quarter inside the final minute of the game. Smith was picked off by Aqib Talib on a pass intended for Stephen Hill along the right sideline. Talib danced around before stepping out-of-bounds but Jets’ center Nick Mangold lunged to knock him out-of-bounds and hit him low after stepping out of the field of play.
The Patriots took offense to the hit and the two teams started pushing and shoving each other in the pile along the sidelines. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was ejected for throwing a punch at a Patriots’ player and Willie Colon was ejected for illegally contacting an official that was trying to break up the scuffle.
The ejections came with just 38 seconds left in the game. Though there aren’t automatic suspensions handed out for ejected players, the league could very well elect to suspend the players after their actions at the end of the game. If the league doesn’t suspend the players, what is the deterrent for players getting ejected in the closing seconds of games? Are fines enough of a deterrent?
If a player can take actions to the level of being ejected by the officials without risk of suspension, what will keep other players from taking cheap shots late in games that are already decided?
It will be interesting to see how the league handles Ferguson and Colon after the ejections tonight. It’s possible the Jets will be missing both players for their Week 3 matchup with the Buffalo Bills.