Patriots’ Hunter Henry issues fumbled TD in loss to Vikings
MINNESOTA — New England Patriots tight dumb Henry the hunterHis 6-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was overturned on instant replay Thursday night, a decision that left him confused after the 33-26 loss. Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium.
“I think I caught it,” Henry said late Thursday in the Patriots’ locker room. “He said it hit the ground. But I think my hand was under the ball. My hand was under the ball, as it hit the ground, that’s when it jumped.
“They made the call. I just got to live with it.”
On a third-and-goal play from the 6-yard line, the quarter Mac Jones he made a pass to Henry near the goal line that was covered by a Vikings defender Chandon Sullivan. Henry had both hands on the ball as he headed towards the goal line.
Officials initially ruled it a touchdown before overturning the call after a lengthy review.
A touchdown would have given the Patriots a 30-23 lead midway through the third quarter, assuming a successful punt attempt. Instead, they settled for a 25-yard field goal Nick Folk. The Vikings then scored the final 10 points of the game.
NFL vice president Walt Anderson explained the overturned call in a pool report, saying, “He was going to the ground, the ball touched the ground, and then he lost control of the ball in his hands.”
Asked to explain why he didn’t give Henry possession before the ball hit the ground, Anderson said, “As it goes to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball at contact with the ground. The most commonly used term is ‘survival.’ he has elements of control, but as he goes to the ground, he has to keep control of the ball.’
As the replay unfolded, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he believed it would be a catch or an incomplete pass short of the goal line.
“I think it’s one of those things that could have gone a number of different ways. I was very happy the way it went,” he said.
Henry had both hands on the ball, but Anderson said that alone wasn’t enough.
“If he had kept control of the ball with both hands, even if the ball had touched the ground, it would have been a catch,” he said.
Henry, in his seventh NFL season, only saw the replay while watching the scoreboard at U.S. Bank Stadium. After Thursday’s game, “really looking in the film room, and trying to be better and control the whole ball, so there’s no question.”
The Patriots still had chances after the ruling, but were doomed by self-inflicted injuries, such as a fourth-quarter fielding penalty that turned into a final Vikings touchdown.
“We have to move on from there [overturned] play and play the rest of the game. There was a lot of time left,” Jones said. “We could have punched in another time and it wouldn’t have been a problem. A call cannot determine the outcome. We have to be able to do better, so it’s not even close.”
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