The Patriots had some calls go against them in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, including a ruling that wide receiver N'Keal Harry stepped out of bounds before scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game.
Replays showed that Harry did not go out of bounds, but the Patriots were out of challenges after Bill Belichick used both of them on one Chiefs possession in the third quarter. New England wound up kicking a field goal and never got the touchdown they needed in a 23-16 loss.
After the game, referee Jerome Boger explained why Harry was ruled short to pool reporter Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
“What led to it was the covering official on the wing was blocked out by defenders,” Boger said. “The downfield official who was on the goal line and looking back toward the field of play had that he stepped out at the three-yard line. So, they got together and conferred on that. The final ruling was that he was out of bounds at the three-yard line.”
Reiss asked if there was thought to ruling it a touchdown in order to trigger an automatic review.
“Not really. Those two officials who were covering it, they look at it in real time,” Boger said. “This case was unique in that the guy who would have ruled touchdown had him short. So maybe if that ruling official on the goal line had a touchdown, we could have gotten into that, but he thought that that guy stepped out of bounds. The goal line wasn’t in the play.”
It was a costly call for the Patriots and their failure to punch it in from the 3-yard-line on the next three plays was also costly for a team that finds itself on a two-game losing streak.