Odd call aids Patriots, upsets coaches

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A week after losing on an odd penalty call against the New York Jets, the New England Patriots got help from a penalty that turned a potential 22-yard loss into a 10-yard gain against Miami. It’s a call that left a couple of coaches around the league grumbling.

Up three points with nine minutes remaining, New England was in Miami territory when Dolphins defensive back Jimmy Wilson sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and forced a fumble. As the ball rolled, Dolphins defensive lineman Olivier Vernon batted the ball backward an additional 14 yards. The Patriots eventually recovered for a 22-yard loss.

However, Vernon was penalized for batting the ball, turning the loss into a 10-yard gain. The Patriots quickly took advantage to score a touchdown and secure the 27-17 victory.

“That’s not what should happen,” one coach said Sunday night. “The good play by the defense shouldn’t be wiped out completely and the Patriots really shouldn’t benefit from that. It’s not a personal foul or situation where you’re trying to protect a player. We have to look at that.”

Another coach agreed, saying it was a borderline call against Vernon for batting.

“Maybe he’s batting it and maybe he’s reaching for it,” the coach said. “Either way, I don’t get how the offensive team should benefit on that play. Take it back to the spot of the fumble and give the ball to the Patriots, but don’t give them a 10-yard gain.”

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