The Patriots' sloppy, rain-soaked 13-10 win over the Jets on Thursday night nearly spiraled out of control in the closing seconds. With 48 seconds left and the Jets trailing by three, New England's Aqib Talib picked off a Geno Smith pass. After a short return, Talib juked his way out of bounds, where he was hit low by New York's Nick Mangold.
Talib did not appear to be injured on the play, but the Patriots' sideline definitely took exception to the questionable tackle. That touched off a brief fight, which resulted in the ejections of Jets linemen Willie Colon (making contact with an official) and D'Brickshaw Ferguson (throwing a punch).
Mangold later defended his play, according to the Star-Ledger:
"I didn’t do anything," Mangold said. "I made the tackle. He was along the sideline. I obviously could not play defense in this league because I thought he was still in bounds, so I tried to make a tackle."
Mangold also added that Patriots coach Bill Belichick yelled at him after the hit, as part of the resulting scrap along the sideline.
"He got heated about it,” Mangold said. “I was a little surprised by that. I figured he’d have a little bit more poise. But it’s obviously an intense game, intense rivalry and tempers flare. I’m not really sure (what Belichick said). I didn’t catch it."
While Colon and Ferguson figure to be fined for their actions, Mangold could be hearing from the league as well. The Lions' Ndamukong Suh was fined $100,000 this week for a low block he delivered on Minnesota's John Sullivan following an interception. Mangold was in a different spot on this play -- trying to tackle the player who made the INT as opposed to blocking for him -- but the nature of his hit and the resulting flag may lead to supplemental discipline.
Free-agent defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who played with Suh in Detroit from 2010-12, had this to say on Twitter after Mangold's tackle:
I can't wait to see what the league does to the jets players...first the clear cheap shot by mangold then the fighting...
— Lawrence Jackson (@LoJackson94) September 13, 2013
Mangold does not have a history of run-ins like this, as Suh does. So even if the NFL opts to fine him, odds are that his punishment would not even be in the same ballpark as that $100K hit Suh took. The Jets next take the field on Sept. 22 against the Bills. Any forthcoming discipline from the league likely will not be handed down until at least Monday.