Patriots

Charles Woodson uses tuck rule to describe pain of Saints-Rams blown call

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Charles Woodson uses tuck rule to describe pain of Saints-Rams blown call

The New Orleans Saints were robbed of a berth to Super Bowl LIII by one of the worst non-calls in NFL playoff history in Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis was decked by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman well before the ball got to the two players. It was an obvious penalty, either pass interference or contact to the head. No penalty was called, however, and instead of killing the rest of the clock, the Saints settled for a field goal with enough time for the Rams to force overtime. The Rams ultimately tied the game with a field of their own on the ensuing drive, then won in OT on another field goal following an interception of Drew Brees.

Here's a look at the incredible non-call:

You can bet this blown call will be compared to another historic call in NFL playoff history known as the "tuck rule" from the 2001 AFC Divisional Round game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. Former Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson, who hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and forced him to fumble on that fateful play, gave his take on the Saints-Rams call in the tweet below.

It's hard to argue with Woodson there. Saints players and fans are going to be extremely upset over that call for a long, long time, and who can blame them?

The Rams, meanwhile, are headed to the Super Bowl, where they will play the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs.

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Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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