NFL Reportedly Sides With Patriots On Controversial Non-Call In Jets Game

Marcus Jones’ miraculous punt return for the Patriots remains a subject of debate.

The rookie corner took an 84-yard punt return to the house during the final seconds of Sunday’s home game against the Jets, propelling New England to a dramatic 10-3 victory over New York. But some believe Patriots linebacker Mack Wilson committed an illegal block-in-the-back penalty on Jets cornerback Justin Hardee around the 15-yard line.

Had the penalty been called, New England would’ve gotten the ball around New York’s 25-yard line with under 10 seconds to go. Whether Nick Folk would’ve made a 40-ish-yard field goal is something we’ll never know.

After the game, Wilson maintained he did nothing wrong while Hardee took the high road, putting the blame on himself for not catching Jones. But how does the NFL feel about the play?

Well, the league sided with New England, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.

“Was it a legal block? It looked like it was a block in the back,” Florio wrote Sunday night. “The league says it was not. Per the NFL, the key is the direction which the force originated from. The officials determined the block originated from the side, and so they did not throw a flag.”

Florio went on to disagree with the NFL, citing Wilson’s hand being on Hardee’s back as evidence of an infraction. His interpretation of that technicality was disputed in a tweet from FootballZebras, a Twitter account that specializes in NFL officiating analysis.

Re: 1 hand on the back rule. This prevents a legitimate block in the back from being waived off just because a blocker was able to reach to the side. Here the full contact of the block is delivered to the side w/ incidental contact to the back
Discussion 🔗

— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs🇺🇦 (@footballzebras) November 22, 2022

Ultimately, the Jets didn’t lose because of a missed penalty call. They lost because they inexplicably gave Jones a chance to return a punt with the game on the line. A rough performance from sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson didn’t help matters, either.

Speaking of Wilson, Jets head coach Robert Saleh on Monday left the door open for the young quarterback to get benched. New York will host the Chicago Bears this Sunday.

As for the Patriots, they’ll look for a third win in a row when they visit the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

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