Maybe the play would have made a difference. Maybe not.
No one will ever know, though, after referee Tony Corrente shut down a play that resulted in Shilique Calhoun catching a ball that Patrick Mahomes lost (or threw). The turnover never happened as Corrente ruled the Chiefs quarterback in the grasp of Chase Winovich.
The Patriots, who trailed 6-3 at the time, would have had the ball at the Kansas City 35. Instead, the Chiefs punted.
“I felt that he was being controlled quite a bit prior to him actually going to the ground,” Corrente said in a pool report. “And as he was being controlled, other players were coming in at him, and so with those other players baring down on him, a quarterback is considered in the grasp and his forward progress is considered stopped when I feel as though the player’s safety is being jeopardized. And that was the case in this instance. So, rather than allow him to get hit by a second and third player, we shut it down and considered it forward progress.”
Corrente didn’t provide an explanation of his ruling at the time, inviting a question about why Bill Belichick didn’t challenge. Because Corrente ruled in the grasp, the Patriots, by rule, were not allowed to challenge.
“No, because the play was shut down and stopped prior to the fumble occurring, or prior to him losing control of the football,” Corrente said when asked whether the Patriots could have challenged. “There was no reviewable aspect of that play.”