The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets on Sunday, but the win didn’t come without controversy.
With the score knotted at three and overtime looking likely, Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards with five seconds remaining to clinch the victory for his side.
Unfortunately, it never should have gone down that way.
What should have happened was the Patriots attempting a field goal from 40+ yards for the win at the end of regulation. And given that New England kicker Nick Folk had already missed both a 43-yarder and a 44-yarder heading into that moment, him connecting would have been anything but a sure thing.
Where did the referees go wrong? Well, they missed an obvious block in the back by Mack Wilson Sr. on Justin Hardee:
— Matt Cassel (@M_Cassel16) November 20, 2022
How did the officials miss this block in the back on the Patriots’ game winning punt return??!! pic.twitter.com/Kf2EP7qR2f
— Brian Y (@byysports) November 20, 2022
Folks will try to make the case that the block in question came from the side. Sure, to some degree.
But it also quite clearly came from the back:
PUNT RETURN TD WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT! @Patriots
: #NYJvsNE on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/0M1xbb6fcp pic.twitter.com/zF3bFuvvpI
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2022
The NFL rules clearly stipulate that if a hand is placed on the player’s back, it’s a block to the back. That is what happened here.
Case closed. End of story.
Now, as a result of that botched call, instead of New York being 7-3 and tied atop the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, they are tied for the bottom of the division with the Patriots at 6-4.
Antonio Brown has officially lost it. https://t.co/GIRDuapRqR
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 21, 2022
It goes without saying that the Jets’ offense gave this one away. But that doesn’t excuse the poor officiating.
Folks may hate the Jets because of how Zach Wilson’s mom dresses and all the drama that always accompanies the franchise, but what’s right is right. That shouldn’t have been a Patriots touchdown to end the game.
Will the NFL come out and acknowledge that, once again, their referees robbed a team in a truly meaningful game? Based on recent history, probably not.
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