The Patriots got screwed out of a touchdown and the refs tried to justify it.
No amount of replays or official explanations are going to convince us that New England Patriots rookie Anfernee Jennings committed a penalty on Gunner Olszewski’s incredible punt return touchdown that ended up being called back.
Jennings made a football play. As Olszewski was making his way to the end zone, an Arizona Cardinals defender was closing the gap, and Jennings, the last man standing between the two, laid an incredible block that you could hear from downtown Boston.
But the refs called it an illegal blindside hit and we’re still not sure why. Patriots insider Mike Reiss asked NFL referee Bill Vinovich why that was the case and got what you could call an “expert response” but we’re still not buying it. If that block isn’t legal, then what sport are we playing?
What nonsense technicality is this? A block back towards his own end line with forceable contact? The only appropriate way to execute the block would be to use his hands or shield the defender? Since when is getting your head around and using the shoulder pad illegal? Jennings had the defender running at HIM full speed, not the other way around. He had to stop on a dime to position himself and lay the block.
We can watch this on loop and still not have a clue why the referees made this ruling. The defender even lowered his shoulder and braced for the hit!
Luckily, the Patriots ended up coming out on top, so the referees avoided even more controversy, but it was mere seconds away from making headlines for all the wrong reasons. New England ended up settling for a field goal on that drive to tie the game, and if not for a missed 45-yard field goal by the Cards with under two minutes remaining, we could be talking about this call being the reason for a 4-7 record.
We’re still worried about the integrity of football, however.