Patriots clinched a 2013 win after correct illegal batting call

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Two years ago, an illegal batting call affected a game between the Dolphins and Patriots.

In that case, the rule was properly applied. You know, just in case the Lions’ flight back to Detroit could be any more miserable.

The Patriots defeated the Dolphins, 27-17, on Oct. 27, 2013. With the Patriots leading 20-17 in the fourth quarter and facing a second and seven at the Miami 23, quarterback Tom Brady fumbled after getting hit by Dolphins defensive back Jimmy Wilson.

Patriots tackle Nate Solder recovered, way back at the Miami 48. The ball moved that far down the field because Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon hit the ball while it was loose, and the officials ruled that Vernon had committed an illegal batting of the ball, applying a 10-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage.

Such a play, as we were reminded late Monday night in the aftermath of the Seahawks-Lions ending, is not reviewable.

The Patriots ended up with a first down at the Dolphins’ 13 after the penalty and scored four plays later to make it 27-17.

The Patriots essentially gained 35 yards on that sequence because there was intent in Vernon’s actions on the play. Rule 12-4-1(a) explains that an illegal bat occurs if “a player of either team bats or punches a loose ball in the field of play toward his opponent’s goal line. While Rule 12-4-1(a) doesn’t expressly require intent, Rule 3-2-5(g) defines illegal batting as “the intentional striking of the ball with hand, fist, elbow, or forearm.”

The back judge watching K.J Wright Monday night didn’t see fit to throw a flag. So, the Seahawks won the game and the NFL has admitted Wright’s bat should have been flagged but wasn’t.

58 responses to “Patriots clinched a 2013 win after correct illegal batting call

  1. That was a very bad call. Dang these blind referees! How could any person say that in their judgment it was not an overt batting of the ball?

    Why did Wright not just catch the ball and fall on it in the end zone? Isn’t that what they are taught to do?

    It is terrible that the refs missed that call when it is clear that the ball was pushed out or batted out. I feel for the Lions and their fans – this would have been a great win for them and gotten them out of the 0 win column.

    I am a Seattle fan and feel terrible about this call. They need to work hard to make sure that all calls in the last 2 minutes of a game are reviewable. Get rid of this “that call cannot be reviewed”. It just does not make any sense.

  2. This example is that of batting the ball forward in the field of play toward the opponent’s goal line, vs. batting the ball out of the back of the endzone, while in the endzone.

    Most people know, or should know, that batting the ball forward is illegal, just as a lateral that goes forward (which makes it a forward pass, not a lateral) is illegal.

    The rule on batting the ball out of the back of the endzone is more obscure (until now). But the NFL officials should certainly know the rule.

  3. This rule is so dumb. Why is it that if the offensive team fumbles and the ball goes forward and it rolls all the way to China, and the offensive team recovers, they place them right there at the recovery spot. Even if it’s not intentional they need to change it to be fair to the defense

  4. Yeah and that call was bs at the time. League of asterisks. The NFL has no legitimacy. Vernon clearly displayed less intent on that play than Wright.

  5. I remember that game, it just goes to prove that all the fans and players that say they didn’t know it was a rule are full of it. I know that players watch game film of the Pats. For the ref to say he didn’t think that the Seattle linebacker knocked that ball out of the end zone on purpose is proof that he’s not qualified to work in the NFL and should be fired.

  6. It seems like the Dolphins player hit it “away” from the goal the Patriots were heading toward and the Seattle player hit “towards” the goal the Lions were headed toward. So a bit different according to the rule as the SEA player did not hit it toward the Lion goal line but the Seattle Goal line.

    Still illegal I think though.

  7. Let me guess. The Patriots cheated to get that call? We get it guys, you hate the Pats.

  8. The difference is that with Vernon’s play, the official could have actually said it was inadvertent without much backlash. He was falling down at the time.

    KJ’s intent and action were crystal clear.

  9. Is not reviewable? The NFL spent 7 million dollars and 7 months on a few puffs of air that had no bearing on the game but can’t fix an obvious mistake that could get a coach fired? Integrity of the game?

  10. Another example of how the rules ALWAYS sway in favor of the patriots , but against everyone else. Between the patriots intentional cheating , which is infamous, and these type of situations, any of their so called accolades have to come with an astrix. Rules are not applied the same to all teams- patriots always get an unfair advantage whether they steal it through cheating or handed to them by bad officiating.

  11. they also got hosed against the Steelers

    PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu’s slapping of the ball into the end zone at the end of the Steelers’ victory over New England was against an NFL rule.

    The rule states that a player may not bat or punch a loose ball in the field of play toward the opponent’s goal line; a loose ball that has touched the ground in any direction, if it is in either end zone; or a backward pass in flight, which can’t be batted forward by an offensive player.

    Polamalu slid after Tom Brady’s fumble in the final moments of the game and slapped it into the end zone. The ball slid through the end zone for a safety, making the final score 25-17 for the Steelers.

    When asked about the play after the game, Polamalu said, “Whatever is going to get me in trouble, I’m saying the opposite.”

  12. “…Patriots clinched a 2013 win after correct illegal batting call”
    Right, except that the idea that Vernon batted the ball is ridiculous. It served no purpose. He was clearly trying to scoop the ball and missed. What advantage would he have gotten from batting the ball?

    He was the last Miami player with a chance. He used his right arm, in a scooping fashion and the ball got away. It was a terrible call then and still is.

  13. Clearly the Patriots were cheating on that, Goodell must act on the integrity of the game and suspend anyone that was involved or even watched or heard about the game. The Patriots obviously induced the Dolphin to bat the ball with their cheating behavior and then the correct call should NOT have been made, similar to the Lions game, but the cheating Pats so overwhelmed the refs that they accidentally made the correct call on that play, which should not have happened and is unlikely to happen again..

  14. Proof that the NFL is stacked against teams like the Lions and favors teams that illegally tape their opponents practices, draft murderers and muck with balls illegally. Oh well, I’m sure the apology is in the mail while the Pats organization polishes their trophies.

  15. That play last night SHOULD BE reviewable (integrity of the game and all) and while it’s not a common thing, it happens often enough that most football fans are probably aware that it’s illegal to bat or kick the ball during a fumble play.

    C’mon NFL – it shouldn’t be this complicated to make sure that rules are being enforced. Maybe you should do some sort of investigation.

  16. The NFL hates BB and Brady and the Pats so much they took forever to actually come around about the touchdown line cameras and are still plugging their ears and shouting “la la la la la” about being able to challenge any play.

    Beacuse not listening to BB is more important to the NFL than integrity.

    But then again, so is everything else.

    Except, apparently, cold footballs.

  17. What would you expect…the Patriots always get the calls, especially if anyone comes close to Brady.

  18. Bogus call then- you didn’t mention that the Dolphins were beating the life out of the patriots* until these mystery calls started happening… at Foxboro* no less.

  19. I’m surprised that the NFL didn’t change the rule or “change the emphasis” after that rule helped the Patriots (see tuck rule, lining up ineligible receivers, plowing snow for field goal kicker, tightening up pass interference calls).

  20. Pats won a game because of a legal interpretation of a rule. They must have been cheating, lets make it illegal, than we can rewrite history and say they were cheating all along.

  21. Uh oh, here comes all the anti-pats ranting that the Pats benefitted from non-cheating! Lol. But I say broken plays where the ball is loose are always exciting, and for more excitement make batting legal but if you bat it into your own end zone, or are already in the end zone and bat it out the side or back of your own end zone, it’s a safety. This is already the case if a punt-receiver muffs a catch and forces or kicks the ball out of their end zone or if a team mate downs it in the end zone.

  22. But none of this matters to foolish Seahag fans because he was “in position” to recover…even though he didn’t recover.

  23. The key here is “towards your opponents goal line”. KJ didn’t bat the ball towards his opponents goal line. He batted it towards ‘his own” goal line. And since the Seahawks didn’t have possession of the ball it cant be called a safety. According to the way the rule is written, no foul was committed on that play. Geaux Saints!

  24. To all the people who believe that the direction of this bat (backwards for the batter) absolves SEA from have committed a foul: Stop. You’re wrong.

    Direction matters under Rule 12-4-1(a), which applies between the goal lines, but direction does not matter under Rule 12-4-1(b), which applies within the end zones. Further: what is or is not a bat under either of the preceding rules is defined in the “batting” section of Rule 3.

  25. Right, except that the idea that Vernon batted the ball is ridiculous. It served no purpose. He was clearly trying to scoop the ball and missed. What advantage would he have gotten from batting the ball?
    That isn’t exactly the best argument that what occurred was a muffed fumble recovery versus a bat. After that bat/muff, NWE was put in a 3rd and a mile situation. That was certainly an advantage for MIA.

  26. Obviously the game film lied to you. We all know everything that happens in the NFL is just a big conspiracy against the Patriots. You must have found some edited game film trying to cover up the conspiracy.

  27. I can’t recall a specific game (or even a specific team), but it’s happened before on a punt when there is an errant snap, the punter will boot the ball out of the back of the end zone to avoid a potential defensive touchdown.

  28. To say that Vernon’s was an overt batting of the ball, and KJ’s was inadvertent, tells you all you need to know about NFL officiating, and in some cases, peoples vision.

  29. The funny thing about that game was our CB Patterson was call for holding on 3rd down. The ball wasn’t thrown his way and he wasn’t holding anyone. Nobody was the refs started helping out the pats…. Patriots fans even know it.

  30. Integrity of the game includes referees. The commish needs to look at the entire league and fix these obscure rules. Let the coaches challenge on any play that could result in a first down or score. Then it’ll be on the coaches to know the rule…which means the same result would have happened since our coach is a moron (Caldwell).

  31. Another example of the Patriots being superior to the rest of the league in all facets. There is nothing greater in all of sport than to be a fan of the New England Patriots. Vindicated and victorious while the rest of the league stews in jealousy. Reading haters comments is like oxygen to Pats fans. We wouldn’t enjoy being the best as much if you guys didn’t let us know how much it bothers you.

  32. qdog112 says:
    Oct 6, 2015 7:23 AM

    “…Patriots clinched a 2013 win after correct illegal batting call”
    Right, except that the idea that Vernon batted the ball is ridiculous. It served no purpose. He was clearly trying to scoop the ball and missed. What advantage would he have gotten from batting the ball?

    He was the last Miami player with a chance. He used his right arm, in a scooping fashion and the ball got away. It was a terrible call then and still is.

    Absolutely. This wasn’t like last nights game were it was blatantly done in the end zone to get on top of the end-zone rule. Just more Pats favoritism.

  33. Wow do the Pats get under peoples skin! Just a mention of a game 2 years ago where the refs got a call right and the Basement dwellers come out in droves. Take it easy fellas. If you’re going to be mad, be mad at the refs from last nights game.

  34. By the way, the headline says the Pats “Clinched” the win. They were already winning, they just iced it on that last drive. They would have won anyway.

  35. for those hating on the Patriots and the Tuck Rule, look up 1976 AFC Championship game Patriots at Raiders. Seems the Tuck Rule was karma. or maybe it was for what Tatum did to Daryl Stingley.

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