DENVER — Some folks — most of them with ties in the Northeast — were less than pleased with the officials’ collective performance in the New England Patriots’ 30-24 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
One of them was a third party commentator. One of them was the Patriots quarterback.
Speaking on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, New England quarterback Tom Brady said he was “pretty pissed off … at how the last 20 minutes of the game played out.”
“Sometimes we’re getting (the calls) and sometimes we don’t,” Brady said. “We didn’t get any last night. I don’t know why or why not. You think they’re looking at it, and they probably are. Sometimes officials miss it, too. I totally understand that. They’re not — I don’t know. I have no clue.”given on WBZ.
“It seemed like the entire fourth quarter there was a yellow flag on the field,” Esiason said. “And when it was thrown, it was against the Patriots. The whole thing was spiraling out of control.”
In particular, Brady and Esiason pointed to an offensive pass interference call on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski that negated a 10-yard gain on a third-and-5 in the fourth quarter, as well as a defensive holding call on Patriots safety Patrick Chung that wiped out a sack that would have seen the Broncos facing a third-and-goal from the 15-yard line.
The Patriots were forced to punt a play after the penalty on Gronkowski and the Broncos scored the go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown after the penalty on Chung.
Speaking about the offensive pass interference call on Gronkowski, Brady said he disagreed with the officials.
“They just feel like there’s a push-off,” Brady said. “It’s obviously different than what I thought because I’m looking at it, too. But they’re the ones with the flags, and they blow (the whistle).”
Esaison mentioned that call, as well as the call on Chung, calling any play that features a defender battling a would-be receiver for position on a pass play “ticky tack.”
“You could call these on every single pass play where there’s two players next to each other,” Esaison said. “You can’t cover a guy in the NFL anymore.”
Perhaps to summarize Esaison’s point, Brady mentioned a play in which he felt a penalty wasn’t called, saying he thought a Broncos defender “hooked” Patriots receiver Brandon LaFell on the first play from scrimmage in overtime.
“They didn’t call that,” Brady said. “Then (the Broncos) got the ball and score the game-winning touchdown.”
Despite voicing their frustrations with the referees, Brady and Esaison said it was not their intention to blame the final outcome on the officiating.
“There were a lot of plays last night that just didn’t necessarily end up the way that we would had hoped, and there was a lot of things we could have done better,” Brady said. “I’m certainly not going to sit here and blame the officiating. Some days you get the calls, some days you don’t.”
Esaison, meanwhile, said he just wished fewer flags would have been thrown late in the game.
“I don’t want to sit here and cry about the officiating or sound like I’m doing that,” Esaison said. “But when the game is on the line you have to let them play. You just have to let them play.
“Last night, the game was so choppy because the amount of flags thrown late in the game. It was unfortunate because it was a great football game.”