Head referee says Jets touchdown-turned-fumble call was 'pretty obvious'

Head referee says Jets touchdown-turned-fumble call was 'pretty obvious'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tony Corrente said there was one replay of the Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown-that-wasn't which made the correct call, in his mind, fairly apparent. 

"We went through two or three primary looks," Corrente told pool reporter Bob Glauber of his interaction with the replay officials in New York, "and then this other shot came up. When the other shot came up, it was just 'boom, boom, booom.' It was a pretty quick determination. It was pretty obvious."

Corrente said that midway through the fourth quarter Seferian-Jenkins was ruled to have scored a touchdown because his back was to the down judge on the field. The down judge thought he saw the ball pass over the goal line in the front right corner of the end zone, but he couldn't see the ball tucked away. 


"Because he lost the ball on his way to the ground the first time and had to re-grasp, that means now it's a loose ball," Corrente said. "He has to have control and survive the ground in the process of the recovery or, as we say, the process of the catch. So that's what that was about."

The bottom line for Corrente -- and obviously for senior vice president of officiating Alberto Riveron and his team, who make the final decisions on video reviews -- was that Seferian-Jenkins had not re-established himself in-bounds with possession of the football after Malcolm Butler punched it loose. That would mean, like a catch, having two feet (or a knee, or a forearm, etc.) in bounds with the football secured.

"You've got to keep in mind, he doesn't have possession of the football yet," Corrente said when asked about Seferian-Jenkins hitting the pylon. "When he lost the ball short of the goal line, when he lost the ball, he re-gained control but that doesn't mean he possesses the ball. He doesn't possess the ball until he's completed going to the ground now and re-controlling the ball, which he did not survive the ground, which is why it wasn't a touchdown."

It was a game-changing call and a controversial one given that the replay, according to some, seemed inconclusive. But Corrente and the officials in New York saw it differently.

"At [the] point he touched the pylon, it was during the process of trying to recover the ball," Corrente said. "Even though he may have had the ball in his hands the second time, that control does not mean possession until he comes to the ground and shows firm control of the ball at that point."


Patriots ID, turn in beer-throwing fan

Patriots ID, turn in beer-throwing fan

The Patriots have identified the fan who threw a beer at Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill after his 75-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter Sunday night and Foxboro police reportedly will charge the 21-year-old man from Marshfield, Mass., with disorderly conduct.

Here’s the statement from the Patriots:

WBZ reported that the beer-tosser will be charged with disorderly conduct and throwing an object at a sporting event:

Here's a slow-motion look at the incident, via NFL Network’s Marc Istook:

Hill's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said they are talking to the NFL and the NFL Players Association about taking action against the fan, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported:

Hill’s touchdown and the ensuing extra-point tied the score at 40 in a game the Patriots would go on to win 43-40 on Stephen Gostkowski’s last-second field goal, handing the Chiefs their first loss.


Nice of the officials to stay out the way of Patriots-Chiefs classic

AP Photo

Nice of the officials to stay out the way of Patriots-Chiefs classic

There are a few items we highlighted in our "Game Within the Game" preview story that need some circling back this morning and the first one is officiating.

John Hussey’s crew was refreshingly out of the limelight in this one. Whether that’s thanks to the two teams playing really cleanly or the officials easing back a bit (the crew walked off 26 penalties in Week 1 and 20 in Week 5), the upshot was a game that had great flow.

But we told you how much better the Patriots were at playing within the rules than Kansas City and that was borne out. The Patriots didn’t have any accepted penalties last night. The Chiefs had five for 58 yards including a 37-yard defensive pass interference on Josh Gordon that set up a Sony Michel touchdown.

The Patriots are now at the top of the league in accepted penalties against (still 26) while the Chiefs are the second-most penalized team . The Chiefs have 50 penalties for 430 yards.

Even more impressive is that the Patriots just have 18 accepted penalties combined on offense and defense. The other eight are against their special teams. The Chiefs have 47 non-special teams penalties against them.

Second, we hit on Tyreek Hill’s speed and the fact that he can run 22 mph with a football under his arm. He hit the gas a couple of times Sunday night and opened up space between himself and the very fast Devin McCourty.

Hill scored three times. McCourty was in coverage twice. One came on a 1-yard touchdown flip when McCourty had a minor collision with teammate Jonathan Jones allowing Hill to scoot free. The other was on a 14-yard throw where McCourty got caught in a trail position and couldn’t make up the gap Hill created.

“Hill’s a guy who – if you play him outside and he runs all the way to the other pylon – those are plays where you try to run it down and try to make a play late but it’s hard to catch back up to him,” McCourty explained.  “The longer the play goes on, you hope the ball will be in the air long enough to catch up but on that first one I went from inside the left hash to 2 yards inside the right pylon. It’s just tough trying to know which way he’s going initially but I just need to try and stay closer and make a play at the end.”

Hill’s speed led directly to 21 points. The arm strength of Patrick Mahomes was directly attributable to the seven Kansas City got on the 67-yard touchdown pass he threw to Kareem Hunt in the third quarter.

Mahomes got outside the pocket but had few options and bought time by drifting. With that, Jason McCourty slowed his pursuit and curled toward the middle of the field, while Hunt kept going straight down the sideline.

Recalling that play, Devin McCourty said, “The hard thing with (Mahomes) was, if you do get after him and get some pressure, is how well he throws the ball outside the pocket. That’s the hardest time to cover fast guys. You cover the initial route but once he gets outside the pocket and the guy just goes one way or goes the other way, you just have to try to catch him. On the Hunt touchdown, he did what you wanted him to do. (Mahomes) bubbled (rolled right on an arc away from the line of scrimmage) but the guy has a great arm that even if he bubbles, he can still get it deep.”

Bill Belichick was not enthused about that play.

“It's not a mystery,” he said on the Monday morning conference call. “Almost every quarterback we've played has been a scrambling quarterback, so it's not like we haven’t seen one before or it hasn’t come up before. We just had a couple of breakdowns last night. It was more than one play, but there were a couple of breakdowns that just ended up in bad plays which we've got to do a better job. We've got to coach it better and we've got to play it better.”

As for the long Hill touchdown in the fourth quarter, Belichick panned that too.

“I'd just say that was just bad defense, bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything.”

Finally, a very busy game for Stephen Gostkowski who went 9-for-9 on his kicks. He was 5-for-5 on field goals including a very clutch 50-yarder with 3:15 to go that pushed the Patriots lead to seven. If he’d missed, would have put the Chiefs first-and-10 at their own 40 driving for the win and not the tie.

He was right down the middle on virtually every kick as well.

“Sometimes you take a guy like Steve for granted,” Bill Belichick said on the conference call. “Just goes out there and bangs them through.”

“I felt in a groove on field goals tonight,” said Gostkowski. “Games like this where you get a lot of opportunities you feel very involved in the game, to me it makes the job easier. Sometimes the hardest games are when you’re sitting around and you don’t know when you’re going to go out there. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. We have a great offense and we score a lot of points. But when you hit the first one and it goes right where you aimed, it’s easy to get on a roll when stuff like that happens.”
The kicking game wasn’t without its curiosities though.

Late in the first quarter, Gostkowski tried what appeared to be a half-squib that was easily fielded by Kansas City’s Spencer Ware at the 35 and returned nearly to midfield. It didn’t have a prayer of being recovered by the Patriots so why did New England just hand over 20 yards of field position to an explosive offense?

“It was a bad kick,” said Gostkowski. “I’m not gonna get into it. It just wasn’t very well executed and put that one on me.”
As for the high-arcing kickoff that the Chiefs returned 97 yards in the fourth quarter, I asked Gostkowski if he can just kick it through the end zone whenever he wants.

“I wish,” he said.  

Gostkowski’s kickoffs going to the lighthouse end were as follows: 3 yards deep in the end zone, squib fielded at the Kansas City 35, moonshot fielded at the 3, touchback, touchback.

As outstanding as Gostkowski was on field goals, the plan hatched by Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge for Gostkowski’s kickoffs is harder to discern.