The New England Patriots benefited from an overturned call in the first quarter of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Peyton Manning threw a second-down pass to running back Ronnie Hillman that originally was ruled incomplete. The Patriots challenged the call, contesting that Manning threw the ball backward, in which case it should have been ruled a fumble. The play was overturned by the officials after review.
The Patriots were given the ball at the Broncos’ 22-yard line. Jonathan Freeny recovered the fumble but the whistle blew, so New England was unable to advance the football beyond where it was recovered. Hillman could have prevented the whole situation by simply playing it safe and picking up the football, but the Broncos running back instead was frustrated about not hauling in the (backward) pass.
The overturned call proved big, as the Patriots scored two plays later on a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Steven Jackson. Unfortunately for New England, kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing extra-point attempt, allowing Denver to maintain its early lead.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jonathan Freeny of the New England Patriots
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