Another Patriots game, another pool report explaining a key call that prevented them from winning.
This week, referee Craig Wolstad clarified the decision not to referee that rollback Ramonder StephensonHis forward advance was stopped before he faltered inside the Cincinnati 10.
Down 22-18 (after trailing 22-0), the Patriots had the first-and-goal of the five, with 1:04 to play. Stevenson got the ball on a handoff, went up the middle, was pushed back, and Fumbled before falling.
“How much interest was there in blowing up a flop play with New England running back Ramondry Stephenson because his forward progress was stalled?” Pool reporter Mike Reese of ESPN.com asked Wrolstad after the game.
“In order to make progress forward, the defense must control the runner,” Wolstad said. “He has to be carried and controlled, basically got his feet up. We felt he was still on his feet. So, we didn’t feel like the defense held him and controlled him. He was still free to get yardage and then also, there’s obviously still a chance.” to stumble.”
Stephenson took responsibility for the fumble after the game, explaining to reporters that he “He was trying to achieve something“and” probably [was] I do more than I’m supposed to do.”
Regarding the possibility of the play stalling, Stephenson said, “It doesn’t really matter what I think. Let the fumbles go.” He admitted that he was fighting for extra yards, and “maybe he should have just gone down.”
It happens to almost every player. He wasn’t trying to fumble. He was trying to score. Defensive players have a say in that, with an opportunity to hit the ball. Today, that’s how it goes.
Today, the loss dropped the Patriots to 7-8, making their path to the playoffs even more precarious. They end with a visit from the Dolphins and a trip to Buffalo.
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