After Further Review: Jets-Patriots Officiating

By popular demand, we're again going to have a post after each game that breaks down some of the controversial decisions from the officiating crew in the game.

Penalty Count

Patriots 6-81 (leading to two Jets first downs)
Jets 4-32 (leading to three Patriots first downs)

Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage

Jets Penalties

  • Chuma Edoga holding penalty. Clear call as he grabbed the defender's arm to prevent him from completing a sack.
  • Matthias Farley holding on a punt. This happened off-screen.
  • Bryce Hall defensive holding. Clear grab of a handful of jersey with the quarterback still in the pocket.
  • 12-men on the field. This ultimately didn't affect the result because New England ended up settling for a field goal anyway but Jabari Zuniga appeared to be the impostor that gave New England a cheap 4th-and-5 conversion.
  • Bless Austin defensive holding. Another obvious call as he grabbed the receiver on 3rd-and-long.

Patriots Penalties

  • JC Jackson pass interference on Braxton Berrios. Jackson, a physical corner, grabbed and pushed Berrios on the play.
  • Jason McCourty pass interference on Breshad Perriman. A 42-yard penalty as McCourty clearly hooked Perriman's arm to prevent him from being able to catch the ball with a step on his man.
  • Illegal double-team block on Jakob Johnson on a kickoff return. This happened off-screen.
  • Mike Onwenu offensive holding on Foley Fatukasi. Clearly grabbed him on the edge although the announcers felt this to be harsh.
  • Jakobi Meyers offensive holding on Tarell Basham. Meyers pulled Basham back to prevent him from getting to the runner on an outside run, although he vocalized his displeasure at the call.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

Jets Penalties

  • Ashtyn Davis roughing the passer penalty to rob him of his first career sack. This one was the source of much debate, but re-reading the rules makes it clear that this was the correct call and Davis can expect to be fined during the week. It wasn't clear if the helmets made contact, as Newton's head snapped back but this was probably due to the force of the blow. Let's assume they did not (and, in any case, incidental contact in the course of a conventional tackle is expressly not prohibited). We can also say that the hit was not forcible contact to the head and neck area because the first contact is to Cam Newton's shoulder/chest. However, the rules state very clearly "A defensive player must not use his helmet against a passer who is in a defenseless posture—for example [...] lowering the head and making forcible contact with any part of the helmet against any part of the passer’s body." Davis did this and the call is therefore correct.
  • Pierre Desir illegal contact on the same play. This was rendered irrelevant but looked to be a little unfair to Desir because the receiver seemed to clearly and deliberately initiate the contact.

Patriots Penalties

  • Shaq Mason holding penalty on a Harvey Langi blitz. This seemed harsh. Mason looked like he tried to grab Langi's arm but only made incidental contact for a split-second and didn't slow him down. This was almost is if the official anticipated a hold which never took place.
  • Meyers illegal shift. Just as you need to be set for a second before the ball is snapped, you also need to be set for a second before you can go in motion. Meyers - whose number was called on the play - was obviously a little over-eager here.

Notable no-calls

There weren't many no-calls that hurt the Patriots. They arguably could have had a roughing call for a low hit by Langi or Fatukasi, but in each case the player was on their way down rather than diving in low (although we've certainly seen that call made this year). Also, the replay booth was correct to overturn the call on the Meyers non-catch and the Crowder touchdown.

There were, however, several missed calls that hurt the Jets. And, in a game that was so close, any one of these could have tipped the balance in their favor:

  • Jackson pass interference on Perriman in the end zone - clearly made early contact just before the ball arrived.
  • On the play where Davis was flagged for roughing, Jordan Jenkins seemed to be held by Isaiah Wynn coming around the edge, which would have offset the personal foul.
  • Farley was blocked in the back on a kickoff but didn't get the call.
  • Berrios had his facemask grabbed on a kickoff return but didn't get the call.
  • Newton seemed to be down or in the grasp before he threw the ball away on a potential Langi sack.
  • Austin was held down the field on Damiere Byrd's catch and run down inside the five.

Let us know what we missed - or misinterpreted - in the comments...