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#pounditWednesday, November 25, 2020

Patriots robbed of two touchdowns by referees

The New England Patriots made a huge defensive play while trailing the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half on Sunday, and it could have been even bigger if not for an official blowing his whistle. The call on the field was incorrect, and the mistake ended up costing the Patriots two touchdowns.

Travis Kelce caught a pass over the middle with the Chiefs leading 23-13 and appeared to pick up a first down, but Patriots safety Devin McCourty made an outstanding play to wrap the tight end up and poke the ball out. Stephon Gilmore scooped up the loose ball and looked like he could have had a potential touchdown, but the play was blown dead after an official thought Kelce was down by contact.

Bill Belichick was furious with the officiating crew, as he knew the Patriots were robbed of a touchdown at most and better field position at the very least. He challenged the play and had it reversed, but that was New England’s second and final challenge.

Because the Patriots had to burn their second challenge, they were unable to challenge another blown ruling on the ensuing offensive drive. Rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry scored a touchdown on a play where the officials ruled he stepped out at the 3-yard line, but replays showed he kept his foot in bounds and dove into the end zone.

The play stood as called because New England couldn’t challenge it. They were unable to score on the next three plays and had to settle for a field goal to cut the lead to 23-16.

NFL officials are instructed to not blow their whistles on fumble plays unless they are certain, and the Kelce fumble is the latest example of why. All turnovers are reviewed anyway, so it’s best to let things play out and not risk costing a team the chance to advance a live ball. We saw the New Orleans Saints robbed on a similar play earlier in the season, but the one in New England proved even more costly for the Patriots as it ultimately them two separate chances to score.

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