There are times when the Patriots convert on third down, or force a third down stop, and the officials throw a flag to negate a good play and swing the momentum in the favor of the other team.
One example was when cornerback Leonard Johnson was flagged for defensive holding on a 3rd and 8 on the Tennessee 22 yard line. Cornerback Malcolm Butler had intercepted the ball, but the replay showed Johnson utilizing a full DDT on the receiver. The Titans received an automatic first down off of the 5-yard penalty. That's fine.
There are other times when the penalty is called and the review shows that the official made the absolute wrong decision.
The Patriots had 3rd and 6 from their own 24 yard line and quarterback Tom Brady threw an easy pass to running back James White, who scampered all the way down to the 6 yard line. It would have been a great play, but there was laundry on the field. Offensive pass interference.
This should never ever ever be a penalty ever. "It is PI when more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage." pic.twitter.com/UyNokWsnZl— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 20, 2015
Last week we discussed the issue of officials making the wrong call because they suffered from a lack of information and camera angles. White lost a big play because the officials thought they should declare him out of bounds, even though they didn't have definitive proof.
This week, the officials called offensive pass interference on Keshawn Martin because the defender called for the flag. Of course everything Martin did was exactly within the rulebook.
SECTION 5 PASS INTERFERENCE ARTICLE 1. DEFINITION. It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player's opportunity to catch the ball. Pass interference can only occur when a forward pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage, regardless of whether the pass is legal or illegal, or whether it crosses the line.
Martin is absolutely within one yard of the line of scrimmage, but the officials thought it was necessary to ignore the rule book and to throw a flag. The Patriots have a league-high 10 offensive pass interference penalties thanks to the league targeting tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Tom Brady exploded on the field after the officials made the call, screaming "that was the defensive end!" When asked about why the penalty was called, head coach Bill Belichick deflected and said, "that's a good question."
These are the exact penalties that Bill Belichick wants to be able to challenge because it's not subjective. Martin was still within the allowable area. Officials need to stop throwing the flag unless they're certain it warrants a penalty. This is ridiculous.