As I mentioned yesterday, for perhaps the first in in NFL history, the referees determined that whoever first touches the ball inside a giant scramble-pile fighting for a fumble gets the ball.
Never mind the fact that the same scrambles occur in every single NFL game all the time. When it happens to New England, then suddenly piles don’t matter. In a bizarre ruling that Adam Gase didn’t bother to ask for an explanation, the referees concluded that the Patriot had full control of the ball and then was touched by a Dolphin…even though the video clearly showed 3 different men all fighting for the ball. You have never seen that called, and probably won’t again. Bizarre.
Speaking of bad calls that always favor the Pats, here’s another one. The Patriots didn’t need any help to carve up the Dolphins defense, but the refs gave them plenty of help anyway, as demonstrated by this sample play.
You clearly see Danny Amendola (#80) hold Bobby McCain (28). Not only is Amendola holding, but his hand is literally inside of McCain’s jersey. He’s not holding the uniform; instead, he is literally inside the shirt and yanking the shoulder pads upwards. Somehow, the refs looked the other way.
On the left side of the picture, you see Cooks (14) pushing Xavien Howard (25) in the back. The still photo doesn’t demonstrate it clearly, but trust me, the video shows a pretty forceful shove. Again, the refs decided that was legal.
The play above is not pivotal. It didn’t change the outcome. But that’s kinda my point. The league cannot just focus on the big plays and only scrutinize referees in the 4th quarter. There needs to be more consistency on these calls throughout. I mean Amendola is lifting a man’s pads from INSIDE his shirt, and the refs said that was fully legal and called nothing.
To be fair, Suh grabbed some guy’s facemask and yanked him down. The refs blew that one too.
Teams need to be able to challenge those non-calls, with a 25-yard penalty if they are proven wrong. You can’t challenge every single hold, but missed facemaksing penalties are very easy to review visually. Suh was clearly guilty, and the Pats had a legitimate beef.