Gene Steratore Adds New Wrinkle To Patriots-Dolphins Fumble Controversy

This was a weird play


Jan 1, 2023

It sounds like the Patriots either messed up or got screwed by the refs early in Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

On the third play of the game, Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert ran left for two yards before being met by Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jabrill Peppers, who jarred the ball loose. New England made a clear recovery, but officials ruled that Mostert’s forward progress was stopped — a call Rhamondre Stevenson would’ve loved last week.

It was a bogus call, and one that rightfully had Patriots head coach Bill Belichick irate on the sideline. However, there’s additional context to consider, according to NFL referee-turned-officiating analyst Gene Steratore.

“Progress was ruled too quickly, but this specific instance is reviewable,” Steratore tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Since the ball came loose following immediate contact and there was a clear recovery, I believe replay would have overturned and awarded the ball to New England.”

Take a look:

So, this begs the question: Was Belichick aware of his ability to challenge, or was he upset because he was incorrectly told that he wasn’t allowed to challenge the play?

Ultimately, the play didn’t matter, as the Patriots defense stopped the Dolphins a few plays later and gave the ball back to New England’s offense, which eventually scored a touchdown to take an early lead at Gillette Stadium. Still, the play would’ve been looked at much differently had the Patriots not scored while being denied the right to start a drive with great field position.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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