Emotions were running high at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night when the Indianapolis Colts hosted the New England Patriots in a game with playoff implications in the AFC.
Tempers flared in the third quarter when Patriots safety Kyle Dugger and Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman got tangled up during a play and had an altercation afterward.
Both players were ejected after the league reviewed the incident from its New York headquarters.
When asked Monday morning about Dugger's ejection, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he didn't understand why Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton also wasn't ejected for his actions during that scrum.
"Based on the rule, I don’t see why T.Y. Hilton wasn’t ejected. He pushed an official. That was pretty clear, but that wasn’t called at all," Belichick said during a video press conference with reporters.
"That’s a clear-cut ejection to me. The Dugger play, Pittman comes from behind, Kyle turns around, there’s an exchange, and his helmet was off. He was trying to put his helmet on as he approached Kyle at the end of the play, so he came up pretty quickly. I don’t know whether Kyle knocked it off or if it would’ve come off anyway.
"Bottom line is both players got ejected. I would say I understand that. Whether I agree with that or not, that’s a whole other discussion. I don’t understand why T.Y. Hilton wasn’t ejected for contacting an official. Intentionally or unintentionally, that has no bearing on the play. Those plays are reviewable and are reviewed, so I don’t understand that one. You’d have to talk to the officials about that. They were the ones that made the call."
The Patriots were trailing 20-0 at the time of the Dugger/Pittman altercation. They made a valiant comeback attempt in the fourth quarter to trim the Colts' lead to 20-17 before ultimately losing 27-17.
The loss ended up dropping the Patriots to the No. 2 seed in the AFC ahead of next week's important matchup against the Buffalo Bills with first place in the AFC East division at stake.