The Patriots clinched today’s win over the Chiefs on a strange play, a Tom Brady pass that bounced off both Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski before ending up in the hands of Julian Edelman, who grabbed the ball and fell down at the stick for a first down.
At least, the officials on the field ruled it a first down. Based on the CBS camera angle that showed the play live, it’s unclear whether Edelman actually got the first down or not.
This was a game-deciding first down: The Patriots only had to kneel down to run out the clock after that, but if it had been ruled short of the line to gain, it would have been third down and the Patriots would have had to run another play and try to pick up the first down. If the Chiefs had stopped the Patriots on third down, Kansas City could have gotten the ball back with about 50 seconds left, only down by seven points.
It’s impossible to say by the camera angles CBS showed whether it was the right call or not, but it was definitely the wrong call for the replay assistant not to call for a review of the play. There might have been another camera angle that showed definitively whether the ball got across the line to gain before Edelman went down. On a decisive play like that, the replay assistant simply must buzz down to the referee and tell him to review it.
In this case, the replay assistant didn’t, and the Patriots sealed the win on a close call that may have been the wrong call.