Posted October 27, 2013

‘Illegal batting’ call benefits Patriots, one week after bizarre pushing call

AFC East, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots
The Miami Dolphins' coaching staff reacts to the 'illegal batting' penalty which cost Miami late in the game.

The Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff reacts to the ‘illegal batting’ penalty that cost Miami late in the game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s just not a Patriots game anymore without an unusual penalty call. Last week, New England lost in overtime after being the first team flagged for “pushing” while defending a field goal. Sunday, an illegal batting penalty on the Dolphins helped the Patriots sustain a drive that eventually ended with a key touchdown in a 27-17 win.

After trailing 17-3 at halftime, the Patriots ripped off 17 consecutive points and were driving for another score when Tom Brady was sacked by Jimmy Wilson and fumbled. Amid the ensuing scramble, Miami’s Olivier Vernon drew the batting penalty when he knocked the ball from tackle Marcus Cannon.

New England’s Nate Solder recovered the football, back at the Miami 45. Without the penalty, the Patriots would have faced a 3rd-and-29; with it, they were given a first down at the 13. Stevan Ridley scored four plays later to bump the lead to 10.

But was the call correct? Or did Vernon simply misfire on an attempt to recover the fumble? You be the judge:

14 comments
MattHaynes
MattHaynes

How many offensive lineman don't intend to hold, but still do and get flagged for it?  How many DBacks don't intend to interfere with the receiver but still do and get flagged for it?  Doesn't matter what the intent was, he still batted the ball back on the fumble and got flagged for it.

Jerr1233
Jerr1233

Even as a diehard dolphins fan, I can see how in full speed, it can look like a batted ball, although unless there was clear intent, the refs should not have made the call, especially on a penalty that is not reviewable.   So I can write that bad call of as stuff happens.  What about that BS pass interference call where Gronk wasn't even touch and the defender got there the same time as the ball?  Or how about that BS defensive holding call where the CB jammed the receiver within 5 yards and then released cleanly and the receiver just flat out fell down.   Now I'm not gonna sit here and blame the refs for everything, OC Mike Sherman's second half play calling was awful and that's being nice.  

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

It's weird, weird call. On the one hand, looking at it in full-speed and slo-mo, I can understand how the ref may have made it. Vernon extends his hand palm downward, instead of palm up or to the side as if he's trying to scoop it toward his body. I'm guessing he was actually trying to trap the ball against the ground, but it was just beyond his grasp and it shot out from under his hand. In full speed it does resemble a slap, though. I like the Pats and I think the call is an understandable mistake, but it was still a bad one -- and if I were on the fence as a ref about whether it was a bat or wasn't, I wouldn't have made the call.

JasonMorrisRVA
JasonMorrisRVA

I don't care for the Pats, that was a bad call.  But New England won that game fair & square.

Joe Philbin killed his team in the 2nd half by going away from what got them a 14-point lead in the first place.  And he also failed to call for a review of a catch that was ruled incomplete, which would've given Miami a 1st down. 

jor689
jor689

let's see:  recover the ball or punch it 10 yards backwards.  i'll assume that HE WAS TRYING TO RECOVER THE FUMBLE.  oh yeah, there was a 300lb guy right on him, trying to pick up a slippery ball.  what about the "pass interference" calls on Jimmy Wilson (WHEN HE DIDN'T EVEN TOUCH GRONK) and Dimitri patterson (he was going for the ball)?   Walt Anderson and his crew should be ASHAMED of themselves.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Being a Pats fan, that was a joke call.  Doubt the guy even thought of pushing it.  Looked more like recovering it, but the Pats did anyway so other than the penalty, big deal.

Braktooth
Braktooth

That's a brutal call if it has to be intentional.

amorosotom
amorosotom

Kraft must have put the squeeze on Goodell after last week's call. This time the zebras figured a way to satisfy the Pats. 

HeathG
HeathG

Thought it was a bad call, just looked like the guy missed the ball trying to recover the fumble.


SteveLarone
SteveLarone

I thought that call was fair. He may not have meant to but he did bat the ball back away from the OT. I did think that the earlier pass interference call against Miami was bogus.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@WHO*IS*ESPN Does anyone even think of pushing it in that situation? When's the last time a team was called for batting? I can't remember seeing that call before. What defender would think about batting it in that situation? Yeah, there's the possibility you'll knock it 10 yards back, one of your guys will recover and you'll improve your field position, but there's just as good a chance that the other team recovers. 

Mkmck
Mkmck

@amorosotom Yeah, because that call made up for handing the Pats a loss last week. Riiiiight.....

TL1961
TL1961

@SteveLarone It has to be intentional. He was trying to get the ball. He could only reach it with the tips of his fingers. Terrible call.