The New England Patriots seemed to solve one problem Thursday night, but developed another. Mack Jones and a struggling offense came to life, but New England’s tenacious defense saw quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings go up and down the field all night.
Jones and the Patriots rallied with the Vikings offensively, but Hunter Henry’s controversial drop squelched the momentum and sparked flashbacks of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant’s infamous catch.
Hunter Henry’s tackle denial proved fatal for the New England Patriots.
On Thursday, the Patriots finally found some rhythm on offense. After Cousins and the Vikings took the first down and drove down the field for a touchdown, New England’s very bad offense responded.
The Patriots, coming off a 10-3 win over the New York Jets last week, had no trouble moving the ball against the Vikings. Jones completed 28 of 39 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns. Apparently there was a third.
With the game tied 23-23, the Patriots had third-and-goal from the Minnesota 6-yard line. Jones connected with Henry, who had both hands on the ball and broke a plane as he rushed into the end zone. Controlled the ball on the field, he was honored after a long review.
“I think I caught him,” Henry told ESPN. “He said he hit the ground. But I think my hand is under the ball. The hand was caught under the ball and hit the ground, causing it to rise. They rang the bell. You just have to live with it.”
Walt Anderson, the league’s vice president of umpiring, explained.
“He was going down, the ball hit the ground, and then he lost control of the ball,” the pool explained in the report.
Not getting caught brought back flashbacks of Dez Bryant not being able to catch
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The call was a hot topic during and after the game. New England settled for a field goal to take a 26-23 lead, but the Vikings closed the scoring with 10 unanswered points in a 33-26 victory.
With such controversy, it brings back memories of Bryant’s January 2015 playoff loss against the Green Bay Packers. With Green Bay leading 26-21, Dallas had a fourth-and-2 on the green. Bay 32 is shrinking. Quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass down the left sideline and Bryant jumped over Packers quarterback Sam Shields.
Bryant caught the ball, and as it crossed the goal line, the ball bounced up and fell back into Bryant’s hands, seemingly untouched. Originally called a catch, the Packers challenged the call and it was overturned. The Packers won the game.
This is a debate that will live forever. That carried over into Thursday’s game when officials called back an apparent fumble by Hunter.
Bryant made several comments on Twitter.
“It cannot be called incomplete,” he wrote.
It’s not over.
“The guy who said it wasn’t complete should shut up!” he added.
He then ended by saying, “I’m shutting this game down SMFH.”
As with #dezcaughtit in 2015, Hunter’s rep was a game changer.