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 6-54 (leading to two Jets first downs)
Jets 4-41 (leading to one Patriots first down)

Note: This does not include penalties that are declined or off-set.

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

Jets Penalties

  • Nate Herbig holding. A split-second late to release as the runner cut back. Maybe a bit harsh but his hand placement let him down.
  • Garrett Wilson false start. Too eager to get off the line.

Patriots Penalties

  • Illegal formation. Jonnu Smith was on the line of scrimmage but the receiver on that side was also on the line. This may have been the other guy's fault but it was credited to Smith.
  • Cole Strange holding penalty on Nathan Shepherd. Held onto him too long and then took him down at the end of the play. Pretty clear and Shepherd appealed for it immediately.
  • 12 men in the huddle.
  • Strange another holding penalty on Shepherd. Basically exactly the same as the other one.
  • Josh Uche offside. Play blown dead as he was essentially in the backfield as the ball was snapped on 4th-and-10.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

Jets Penalties

  • CJ Mosley unnecessary roughness penalty. It doesn't seem right that Mac Jones is treated as "giving himself up" on this play because he was falling forwards towards the first down marker so this isn't a late hit. The penalty is therefore called because Mosley makes forcible contact to the head and neck area (albeit with his shoulder). This can be a penalty, but when the player being hit is going down and lowering his helmet to initiate the contact, it often isn't. Clearly Mosley and Robert Saleh did not agree with this call.
  • John Franklin-Myers' roughing the passer penalty to negate Deuce Carter's pivotal pick-six. The official's explanation for this penalty was that he "hit him too hard" per Saleh. Franklin-Myers shoved Jones in the back after the ball was thrown but it wasn't egregiously late as he was one step away and likely couldn't have avoided contact. There was definitely no sign of forcible contact to the head or neck area, launching, or using his helmet as a weapon. Ultimately, this is a marginal call, but Franklin-Myers has to consider that these calls often go against the Jets because they have this reputation for whatever reason (perhaps dating back to the Gregg Williams days) so he needs to not extend his arms to shove Jones and instead try to hold him up or take him down more carefully, also avoiding landing on him or throwing him to the ground.

Patriots Penalties

  • Unnecessary roughness on Jabrill Peppers on Ace Carter. Not only was this one step out of bounds, but he hit him helmet-to-helmet, so it arguably should have been a penalty even in the middle of the field.
  • Illegal block in the back by Pierre Strong on Justin Hardee. This was a very clear violation as Hardee ran downfield to try and down a punt near the goal line. Whether this was a bad play that proved lucky by Strong or a very heady play by the rookie, this worked out quite well for New England. The half-the-distance penalty put the ball at the 10, whereas Hardee would easily have been able to down it inside the five absent this penalty.

Notable no-calls etc

Aside from the numerous missed holding penalties which are always prevalent against New England because they constantly play overly physical to set a tone from the get-go, it seems difficult for the Jets to complain too much when, for a change, they had less penalty yardage than their opponent.

However, the Jets have been actively targeting players with good on-field discipline and focusing hard on mitigating all penalties but a high percentage of the ones they do get are absolute killers and that was the case again. Interestingly, there wasn't a single coverage penalty for either team this week, either, although we know both teams have some physical players in coverage.

Here were some of the notable missed calls, controversial moments or review situations:

  • Peppers threw Garrett Wilson down at the end of a play but didn't draw a penalty. Then Wilson's complaining arguably went far enough that he was risking an unsportsmanlike penalty on himself.
  • DJ Reed had a big hit at the sideline but the no-call was correct because both he and Jones were still in bounds as contact was made. Jones may have been actively trying to draw a flag here.
  • The Patriots complained about a play where Carl Lawson made a tackle in the backfield by dragging Rhamondre Stevenson down by the hair. However, this is completely legal. Note: Tear-away jerseys were banned by the NFL in 1979 but they haven't banned detachable hair extensions yet. Someone is missing a trick.
  • Greg Zuerlein was knocked down by Jack Jones' momentum as he tried to block his 45-yard field goal that would have tied the score at 13-13 in the third quarter. Jones didn't get a touch on the kick, which was wide left and it should have been roughing the kicker and a Jets first down at the 13-yard line. At the very least it should have been running into the kicker which wouldn't have been a first down but would have given Zuerlein another shot from 40 to tie it up.
  • New England's touchdown should never have counted because clearly there was a defensive player blocking Sauce Gardner more than two yards downfield before the pass was thrown. This would have made it 3rd-and-11 and the 15-yard line and the Jets would have held onto a 10-9 lead if they had to settle for a field goal. This was an inexcusable error by the official who was lined up in the wrong place, so probably considered that the block was within a yard of the line of scrimmage. He was lined up beyond the marker rather than on the line on 3rd-and-1.
  • Devin McCourty's interception was upheld at the sideline after a quick review. Based on the TV angles, we didn't get a clean look at whether McCourty's left foot or knee came down out of bounds, but the official was right there and if the angle isn't clear, the call on the field should stand (rather than spending five minutes Zapruder-footage-ing this bitch to try and find a shred of evidence that potentially the call might not be correct, as seems to be the standard for the Jets on plays like the Tyler Conklin catch a few weeks ago or Mosley's interception last week or Harry Kane's goal against Sporting Lisbon). McCourty's shoulder did definitely come down out of bounds but this is okay if a knee or both feet were established out of bounds first (and if he "survives the ground" which he did), which looked possible but it would have been nice to get a better look. Note: One knee is enough so if his right knee was down before his left knee or foot touched out of bounds, that's still legitimately in bounds.
  • When the Pats tried to down the punt at the goal line, it was correct that the touchback was called. New England blew this, as DaMarcus Mitchell had the ball in the field of play but his momentum was carrying him into the end zone, so he flipped it to the guy behind him, who stepped on the goal line. Interestingly, Braxton Berrios fielded the ball and tried to run after that guy tried to flip it back too, which would be smart because there's no risk of a muff if it's a live ball. Had they batted it back, it would have been a live ball but the fact they had possessed the ball and then stepped on the line rendered it a dead ball at that moment. Interestingly, if they reviewed this and found the ball was actually downed at the one because the guy didn't step on the goal line, it would have been theoretically live, but since the official blew it dead, Berrios' return would have been negated.
  • James Robinson lost a fumble as he was thrown to the ground at the end of a play and it may have been a situation where he wasn't actually down at the time. However, this was not reviewable because they had already blown the play dead since his forward progress was stopped. On this occasion, throwing him down at the end of the play was not worthy of a flag because it was close to the whistle and in the natural flow of the play.

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