The Panthers barely held on to beat the Patriots 24-20 on Monday Night Football and the Charles flows with the tears of confused Bostonians thanks to a defensive pass interference call that was wiped away. Tom Brady might be the saltiest of the bunch; he dropped a serious F-bomb on referee Clete Blakeman as he jogged off the field.
In Brady's defense, Blakeman did a lousy job of explaining what happened. A flag was thrown on the last play of the game—an under-thrown ball intended for Gronk, whose path back to the ball was clearly being impeded by the linebacker—and then it was picked up, with no explanation. The referees were huddled together, discussing the call and then Panthers players sprinted off in glee. Seconds later Blakeman informed the crowd "there is no foul on the play, the game is over" and ran for the locker room. And Brady followed.
It's a shame, because the Panthers played just as well as the Patriots and merely because this particular play was the last play, it's going to seem like the Patriots got jobbed out of a Tom Brady miracle. But that's just the way it goes, sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you're cursing at an official on national television.
Update 1:29 a.m.: Clete Blakeman spoke to reporters after the game and said, in essence, he thought they got the call correct. It was determined that the ball was uncatchable. Blakeman said the back judge threw the flag for defensive pass interference and then a discussion was held where it was determined the interception and the interference occurred at the same time and therefore uncatchable.
From the pool report:
There were two officials that came in. One was the umpire and the other one was our side judge and there was a discussion at that point as to the, in essence, the catchability of the ball due to its location. So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.