Patriots’ Hunter Henry disputes overturned TD in loss to Vikings

MINNESOTA — The New England Patriots’ 6-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter by Hunter Henry was canceled out by an immediate replay Thursday night, a decision that left him stumped after a 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium made.

“I think I got it,” Henry said in the Patriots locker room late Thursday night. “He said it hit the ground. But I think my hand was under the ball. The hand was under the ball when it hit the ground, that’s why it bounced.

“You called. I just have to live with it.”

On third-and-goal play from the 6-yard line, quarterback Mac Jones fired a pass near the goal line at Henry, who was covered by Vikings defenseman Chandon Sullivan. Henry had both hands on the ball as he lunged for the goal line.

Officials initially ruled it was a touchdown before lifting the call for an incomplete pass after a lengthy review.

A touchdown would have given the Patriots a 30-23 lead midway through the third quarter, assuming a successful point-after-try. Instead, they opted for a 25-yard field goal from Nick Folk. The Vikings then scored the last 10 points of the game.

Acting NFL vice president Walt Anderson explained the lifted call in a pool report, saying, “He went down, the ball eventually hit the ground, and then he lost control of the ball in his hands.”

When asked why Henry wasn’t granted possession before the ball hit the ground, Anderson said, “Because if he goes down, he has to keep control of the ball when it hits the ground. The term commonly used is ‘survive the ground’…he has the elements of two feet and control, but because he’s going down he needs to keep control of the ball. “

As the replay process unfolded, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he thought it would be awarded either a catch just short of the goal line or an incomplete pass.

“I think it’s one of those things that could have gone a lot of different ways. I was very happy that it went the way it did,” he said.

Henry had two hands on the ball, but Anderson said that alone wasn’t enough.

“Had he controlled the ball with two hands, even if the ball touched the ground, that would still be a catch,” he said.

Henry had only seen the replay in his seventh NFL season while watching it on the scoreboard at US Bank Stadium. After Thursday’s game, he planned to “really watch it in the movie room and just try to get better and control the ball to the end so there’s not even a question.”

The Patriots still had chances after the verdict but were doomed by self-inflicted wounds such as:

“We have to keep going [overturned] play and play the rest of the game. There was still a lot of time left,” Jones said. “There were other times when we could have latched it and that wouldn’t have been a problem. A phone call cannot determine the outcome. We have to be able to do better, so it’s nowhere near.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35103514/patriots-hunter-henry-disputes-overturned-td-loss-vikings Patriots’ Hunter Henry disputes overturned TD in loss to Vikings

Emma Bowman

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