(Source: AP Photo)

Jets Fall To Patriots, But This Time The Heartbreak Wasn’t Their Fault

The New York Jets played host to the rival New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. An unexpected battle between two 3–2 teams tied atop the AFC East.

Preseason analysis led many to believe the defending-champion Patriots had a shot to run the table and finish 16–0. The Jets, on the other hand, were thought to do the exact opposite in an all-out tank for Sam Darnold. Were the game to have ended in a New York loss via their own ineptitude, all would have been right and just. Thanks to an egregious overturned call on a would-be Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown, that is not the case.

Despite jumping out to an early 14-point lead on the back of Josh McCown’s hot start, the Jets found themselves down 10 in the fourth quarter. McCown, overcoming his mid-game misgivings and general shortcomings as an NFL quarterback, crafted a 12-play drive capped off by Seferian-Jenkins’ second touchdown of the game. Or so we thought. Like all scoring plays, the reception was reviewed and unlike all scoring plays, the ruling was unequivocally controversial.

Rather than the play resulting in a four-point deficit for New York, New England was awarded the ball with a 10-point lead still intact. The officials deemed that Seferian-Jenkins lost possession before reaching the goal line and subsequently fumbled the ball out of bounds through the end zone for a touchback. The decision was made in accordance with a long-standing rule that’s known as one of the worst in football. That the rule is in place is one thing and that it was followed is another, but the heartbreak and frustration stems from how it was even able to be used.

While Seferian-Jenkins momentarily bobbled the ball, it appears he comes down to the pylon with a controlled reception. He never, at any point, utterly and completely lost the football. Even if he did fumble, there must be conclusive evidence for any ruling on the field to be overturned. By this angle and all of the many that were shown live, this catch is a touchdown and at the very least it is inconclusive to prove otherwise. That referee Tony Corrente now states the ruling to overturn the call was “obvious” is beyond me. Corrente, who also claims the league only has the shots shown on TV, effectively shoots himself in the foot in saying so. If that’s the case, our definitions of conclusive could not be more different.

Had the call stood, the Jets still would have been down by three assuming Chandler Catanzaro made the extra point. It would be hyperbolic to say the botched call is the sole reason for New York’s third loss. But the ensuing Patriots three-and-out and Catanzaro field goal, coupled with the would-be inherent momentum from Seferian-Jenkins’ touchdown, point to a game deserving of going to overtime. The Jets gave the Patriots all they could handle and were rewarded with what will go down as one of the worst calls of the season, if not all time. If that’s not the Jets existence in a nutshell I don’t know what is.