EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets were upset and baffled by an apparent touchdown that turned into a fumble and a touchback following a replay review in their 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“I’m pretty sure everybody is going to look back and say that was a B.S. call,” wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored on a 4-yard touchdown catch with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter — or, at least, that was the call on the field. After reviewing the play, referee Tony Corrente ruled that Seferian-Jenkins bobbled the ball twice and didn’t re-establish control until after he was out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in a touchback.
The Jets were trailing 24-14 at the time.
Afterward, several players said they were shocked by the reversal.
“For most of us, the last thing on our mind was a touchback,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “I thought at least it would [be] down on the 1 and we’d still have the ball and still have a chance to score a touchdown.
“Me, personally, I still don’t understand where the touchback came from. It wasn’t like the ball went through the back of the end zone at all.”
Seferian-Jenkins refused to directly criticize the referee. He acknowledged that he bobbled the ball, but he still felt it should’ve counted as a touchdown.
“I feel like I scored,” he said. “But at the end of the day, that’s what the ref called. I’m going to go with what the ref said, and I have to have better ball security.”
Seferian-Jenkins went on to say, “I don’t think it does any good to blast the officials or blast the rule … The rule is the rule. It is what it is. I have to do a better job of ball security. … I feel like I let my team down.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles downplayed the impact of the controversial call, saying that his team had other opportunities to win. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Jets (3-3), who missed a chance to grab sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
“They said he didn’t have control of the ball going out of bounds,” Bowles said. “If it hits the pylon going out of bounds, it’s a touchback going the other way.”
Corrente, speaking to a pool reporter, explained it this way:
“He lost the ball. It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball, and by rule, now he has to complete the process of a recovery, which means he has to survive the ground again.”
Corrente said the ball came out “a second time” as one knee hit the ground, adding, “Now he’s out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback.”