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Thanks a lot, NFL refs — now we actually feel bad for the Patriots

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots
The Patriots’ N’Keal Harry was ruled out of bounds as he ran toward the end zone during the fourth quarter against the Chiefs on Sunday.
(Adam Glanzman / Getty Images)

The Patriots got hosed.

Sure, pretty much every NFL fan outside of New England probably relishes Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and company having to face this kind of adversity after multiple decades of seemingly magical success.

And it’s beyond painful for those same fans to side with those guys over anything.

But if we’re being honest, the Patriots got seriously hosed by the officials Sunday during a 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. And it happened more than once.

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Late in the third quarter, with Kansas City up 23-13, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce appeared to fumble the ball after catching a pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Devin McCourty made the hit that popped the ball loose, and Stephon Gilmore picked it and started running with what looked like a clear path to the end zone ahead of him.

But Gilmore never got the chance to score because the officials determined that Kelce had been down by contact. Belichick challenged that call and the ruling was reversed, giving the Patriots possession but doing nothing about the points New England likely would have gotten had the play not been whistled dead.

Then on the ensuing drive, Brady connected with N’Keal Harry, who made a great run-after-catch and appeared to get the ball into the end zone to pull the Patriots to within 23-20.

But the officials on the field determined that Harry had stepped out of bounds at the 3. The replay showed otherwise.

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“The covering official on the wing was blocked out by defenders,” referee Jerome Boger told a pool reporter after the game. “The downfield official who was on the goal line and looking back toward the field of play had that he stepped out at the three-yard line. So, they got together and conferred on that. The final ruling was that he was out of bounds at the three-yard line.”

Belichick was out of challenges and couldn’t do anything about it, so the Patriots ended up having to settle for a field goal.

To be clear, this wasn’t an 11-point swing in the Chiefs’ favor. It was a four-point swing (remember the Kelce fumble led to the drive that included Harry’s negated touchdown, so the Patriots would have gotten only one of those would-be scores), so those calls alone did not prevent New England from winning the game.

But make no mistake about it, the Patriots got hosed by the officials twice.


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