Patriots

Hopkins questions penalty on Newton hit, deletes tweets

Patriots

The New England Patriots weren't the only team at Gillette Stadium that had a bone to pick with the officials.

Late in the Patriots' 20-17 win over the Cardinals on Sunday, Arizona linebacker Isaiah Simmons was flagged for a 15-yard penalty after lowering the boom on quarterback Cam Newton as he ran out of bounds.

The back-breaking penalty moved the ball from the Patriots' 46-yard line to the Cardinals' 39. Four plays later, Nick Folk booted a 50-yard field goal as time expired to seal New England's win.

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Simmons protested the call after the play, and it appears he had an ally in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who fired off two tweets complaining about a late hit apparently being called.

Referee Bill Vinovich and his crew didn't specify in the moment why Simmons was flagged, which may explain why he and Hopkins were frustrated.

Hopkins quickly deleted the tweets, though, and a look at the box score may reveal why: The call on the field technically was for unnecessary roughness, not a late hit, as Simmons appeared to hit Newton while he was still in bounds but led with his head to hit Newton in the head area.

There's still some debate about whether that was the right call, but officials blew controversial whistles on both sides, as the Patriots had a punt return touchdown called back after a blindside block penalty.

 

While New England managed to salvage a field goal after that call, Simmons' penalty played a key role in sinking Arizona's chances of victory.