Referees may have missed potential face mask penalty in Patriots’ overtime loss to Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Cowboys were able to walk off with a thrilling game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Patriots on Sunday. The game-clinching score was the culmination of an 80-yard drive by Dallas’ offense in the aftermath of the defense forcing New England to punt the ball away after originally winning the coin toss to begin the extra period. While Dallas certainly made enough plays to win the contest, they may have received a solid from the officials during overtime as well with an apparent non-call on what appears to be a face mask infraction. 

On the Patriots’ lone possession of overtime, Mac Jones dropped back on third-and-3 and threw a pass in the direction of Nelson Agholor. The ball landed incomplete as the throw was out of the reach of Agholor toward the right sideline. One reason why the veteran receiver may not have been able to make a better play on the ball could have been due to Dallas corner Anthony Brown, who appears to have grabbed Agholor’s face mask as the ball was in the air. 

Even CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Tony Romo made reference of the missed call upon seeing the replay, but no official threw a flag in real time.  

Of course, had a face mask penalty been called, that would have extended the Patriots’ drive and possibly moved them into Dallas territory. Instead, Bill Belichick’s team punted the ball away to the Cowboys, who would move the ball down the field to eventually connect on the game-winning score. 

“Yeah, it’s football,” Jones said after the game when asked if he was expecting a penalty on that play. “It’s bang-bang, but when it’s one on one, things happen, and it’s not my job to throw the flag. You know, you’ve just got to stick to my rules and stick to my keys, and sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. You can’t blame everything on the refs or anything. They call their game, and we have to execute our game plan. It’s an it-is-what-it-is situation and we just have to move on and find ways to not be in that position where we can be ahead and we don’t have to be in that position.”

Would this have changed the outcome of the game had it been called? Nobody knows. The only thing we know for certain is that it would have given the Patriots and new set of downs. The rest is up for interpretation. 

Meanwhile, this loss brings the Patriots to 2-4 on the season and are also 0-4 in Foxborough for the first time since 1993

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