Fresh off a 40-point win over Jacksonville, the New England Patriots came out shockingly flat in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins and ultimately succumbed to a 33-24 defeat.
To make matters worse for the Patriots, they lost Christian Barmore and Isaiah Wynn to injuries. Both players were assisted off the field, and Bill Belichick is “hopeful” they avoided serious injuries, though further testing will determine how long, if at all, they’ll be sidelined.
In a vacuum, it was a day to forget for New England. It feels like we’ve been saying that a lot recently, but it’s true. Mac Jones came crashing back down to earth, and the defense had no answers for Duke Johnson. The unit also allowed the Dolphins to go 7-of-15 on third down.
Pretty easy to see why they lost, no?
However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that the Pats received no help from the officials on Tua Tagovailo’s game-sealing scramble.
Get a load of this blatant hold on Matt Judon that wasn’t called.
Patriots star Matt Judon isn’t happy after the refs missed a blatant holding call on the Dolphins’ final drive.
Guess it’s cool for offensive linemen to put pass-rushers in a chokehold and completely obstruct their line of vision? Good to know.
Though Tagovailoa is nifty with his footwork in the pocket, he seemingly didn’t have a clue Judon was closing in on his blindside. If the star edge rusher wasn’t impeded, there’s no doubt in our minds he sacks the Dolphins quarterback.
Keep in mind this came on a third down with Miami holding a three-point advantage on the scoreboard. A Judon sack would’ve forced a punt and gave the Patriots a chance to tie or take the lead on the ensuing drive.
By the time New England’s defense was able to force a punt — with 14 seconds left in the game — it was too late. The offense’s next play came from the two-yard line with three seconds remaining. To rub salt in the wound, their desperation hook and ladder attempt resulted in a Miami defensive touchdown.
Here’s a freeze frame of Judon being held (choked).
Literally his entire face is covered. Amazingly enough, this wasn’t the refs only gaffe in the game.
On a 4th and 3 in the first quarter, Brandon Bolden was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after Dolphins punter Michael Palardy attempted a fake and slid about two yards short of the first down marker. The refs clearly were tricked into thinking Bolden went helmet-to-helmet on Palardy when, in actuality, he grazed the punter’s shoulder pad.
The call allowed Miami to extend their drive and they made New England pay in the form of a field goal. Before the last-second defensive touchdown, this game was decided by a three-point margin.
This isn’t all to say that the Pats lost because of the refs, but these calls deprived the game of an impartial ending, and that just isn’t fair.