Last week, the New England Patriots' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was decided in the final seconds when Duron Harmon intercepted a pass to seal the team's 27-24 victory. Only two plays earlier, what looked like a Steelers go-ahead touchdown was overturned after review - a controversial but correct call per the letter of the law that is the NFL rule book.
This week, the Patriots' game against the Buffalo Bills also included a controversial decision that overturned a go-ahead touchdown: In the late second quarter, after New England took a 13-10 lead, Buffalo drove right down the field in under two minutes to retake the lead - or so it seemed until the touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin was ultimately overturned in New York.
As has been the case last week, it was a tight decision - and one that the NFL's Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron, explained after the game via video:
Al Riveron, who made the ruling to overturn the call on the field - touchdown - takes a look at the play from two different angles to dissect the ultimate result. Riveron states that Benjamin did not complete the catch as he failed to simultaneously control the football and keep both his feet in bounds - echoing remarks he made earlier via Twitter:
In #BUFvsNE, when Kelvin Benjamin gains control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass. -AL
By the way Riveron explains his decision, it certainly makes some sense. However, not everyone was happy about it: NFL officiating expert Ben Austro of footballzebras.com called the overturn “inexplicable” and noted that “it is a very fine and technical decision made in replay”.
It looks like we will have another week of seemingly endless discussions about officiating ahead of us. Merry Christmas, everyone!