The New England Patriots did not lose 31-17 to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday because of the officiating. That does not mean, however, that there were no calls deserving of some in- or postgame scrutiny.
Whether it was a ticky-tacky holding call against J.C. Jackson that helped set up a Miami touchdown, some questionable shifts by the Miami offense, or a non-call on a clear helmet-to-helmet collision that knocked wide receiver DeVante Parker out of the game, New England had every right to be unhappy with the refereed after the game. However, no unhappiness was expressed out in the open.
“You should talk to the officials about that,” head coach Bill Belichick said during his postgame presser. “I think you should ask them about it. It doesn’t make a difference what I think.”
On the day, New England was flagged for 45 yards. The Dolphins, for comparison, drew three penalties for a loss of 25.
Not all penalties are created equal, though, and the Patriots’ weighed more heavily when looked at through the lens of expected points added. The team’s seven infractions, for example, averaged an EPA loss of 1.2. Miami’s three flags, on the other hand, registered an average of 0.9 each.
“I’m not going to sit here and comment on the officiating,” said center David Andrews when asked specifically about a late-game scuffle following a penalty against teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster. “You got however long it was — if it was a 60-minute game, we had 58 minutes to put more points on the board and do better. It is what it is.”