The New England Patriots should have been given a new set of downs early in the fourth quarter of their 18-12 Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Based on the replay CBS showed after a 2-yard run by James White with 12:56 remaining in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots running back’s knee didn’t touch the turf until after he had dived for a first down. Bill Belichick never threw his red challenge flag, and the Patriots punted the ball away to the Broncos.
So, did Belichick consider challenging the spot?
“No, not really,” Belichick said.
Did he get a second look at the play?
“I just answered the question,” Belichick said.
Well, not really. The Patriots still had two challenges. White certainly thought he had the first down.
“I thought I did,” White said. “I thought I had it, but the refs made the call. That’s what they thought they saw.”
The Patriots punted with 12:06 left in the fourth quarter, and the Broncos drained a little over 90 seconds off the clock before punting. New England scored a touchdown with a missed two-point conversion attempt on its next drive.
Cam Newton and Co. had two more possessions, kicking a field goal then turning the ball over on downs on their final series. New England ultimately lost by one score.
Perhaps the Patriots would have lost regardless of whether they were granted that first down. But it looked like an easily winnable challenge when New Engkand needed any help they could get.