The Patriots Fell Victim to One of the Worst Officiated Games of the 2019 Season
The New England Patriots walked off the field at Gillette stadium after Sunday’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs with back to back losses, this one coming by a score of 23-16. As the stomach acid of Patriots fans begins to settle and the looming disappointment at another lackluster performance takes over, there’s a tone of anger around social media at some of the calls made, or not made, by the referees.
For those of you who may have missed some of the more horrendous decisions made by the officials in the Week 14 bout, let's go over some of them.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore had an excellent fumble recovery off of tight end Travis Kelce after safety Devin McCourty forced a fumbled and popped the ball right out of his arms. Though the Patriots challenged the ruling and it was ruled a fumble with New England recovering it, the subsequent scoop-and-score opportunity by Gilmore was negated because the officials blew the whistle immediately when they believed Kelce hit the ground.
In the 4th quarter it was ruled that rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry was out of bounds when he dove for the pylon. As the clip was played back, it was clear that Harry was well within the confines of the field. But because the officials ruled him out of bounds instead of ruling it a touchdown, which then could have been reviewed without a challenge, New England had a TD stolen from them. Out of challenges at that point in the game, the Patriots had to resort to a field goal.
Mike Reiss of ESPN spoke with Jerome Boger after the game, who was the the head official for the Week 14 game, and asked him if there was any thought to err on the side of touchdown on that play. Here is what Boger said:
"Not really," he said. "Those two officials who were covering it, they look at it in real time. This case was unique in that the guy who would have ruled touchdown had him short. So maybe if that ruling official on the goal line had a touchdown, we could have gotten into that, but he thought that the guy stepped out of bounds. The goal line wasn't in the play."
To wrap up an awful night of officiating, the officials missed a blatant defensive pass interference down field late on the 4th quarter on receiver Phillip Dorsett, who attempted to catch a long ball but couldn't because the Chiefs defensive back already had his arms around him.
By the end of the game, the discontent was palpable, and quarterback Tom Brady is beginning to take on the look head coach Bill Belichick - a constant scowl. Then again, with such an all over the place offense, and referees that appeared to be willfully unaware of the rules of football in Week 14, it’s easy to understand why.