BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are apparently magnets for controversial calls by NFL officials.
The team’s unbelievable comeback on Sunday afternoon was made possible, largely, by a pass interference penalty called on Cleveland’s Leon McFadden, which moved the Patriots from the 30-yard line to the 1-yard line. They scored on the next play and held on to win 27-26.
Yet it wasn’t the first time this season that the Pats have found themselves at the center of officiating controversy late in a game, though it is the first time in a while that they’ve come out on the winning end.
Week 6 vs. New Orleans
Tom Brady’s last-minute touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins capped off an incredible comeback drive, yet left tackle Nate Solder clearly held Junior Galette prior to the throw.
Week 7 at New York Jets
It didn’t take long for the universe to correct itself with regard to the Patriots and officiating. In overtime, Jets head coach Rex Ryan called for a 56-yard field goal attempt, which was no good. However, Chris Jones was penalized for pushing an opponent into the line of scrimmage. It was the first time the rule had ever been called, and it’s hardly caught on around the league as a common call since that day. Yet it was called, and the Jets got 15 free yards before kicking the game-winning field goal.
Week 11 at Carolina
In what was the most controversial moment of the season for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski was held by Luke Kuechly in the end zone as Tom Brady’s pass landed a few yards in front of the tight end in the game’s final seconds. The back judge immediately threw a flag for pass interference, but after a brief meeting of the officials, the flag was picked up and the game was over.
Week 14 vs. Cleveland
In the NFL, ticky-tack penalties often give teams huge chunks of free yards, but rarely do those calls come in the final seconds. Yet that was the case late in the Pats’ game vs. the Browns, as Leon McFadden was called for making too much contact with receiver Josh Boyce. It gave the Pats 29 free yards, and they made the most of it, scoring on the next play to take the lead and win the game.