Back in 2000, Belichick’s first season as New England’s coach, his communication with referee Johnny Grier resulted in the Patriots and Miami Dolphins returning to the field for the final play after about 35 minutes in the locker rooms.
Drew Bledsoe had just been called for a fumble and an illegal forward pass as time ran out and the teams left the field. Belichick said Monday that as he was walking off the field he told Grier the play appeared to be an incompletion and the Patriots should have another play. But Grier said, “No. That’s the ruling. The game is over,” Belichick recalled.
“We go back into the locker room (and) 10 minutes or so later, Johnny comes back and says they’re reviewing the play, we may have to go back out and finish the game,” he said. “About five minutes after that, when the players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that game.
“I’ve been through a situation in the final play of the game where it’s over, but it’s not over, that type of thing. That was really the situation last night. So, I was trying to get the official’s attention to get an explanation on it and in no way was I trying to do anything other than that.”
There were questionable penalty calls throughout the game.
“I’m trying to focus on coaching our football team,” Belichick said when asked about his frustration with replacement officials. “We need to do a better job of controlling the things that we need to control.”
There were 14 penalties against the Ravens and 10 against the Patriots.
“We’ve all got to understand that, hey, they’re making those calls on both sides of the ball. There’s some good and bad calls on the Ravens (Sunday) night. There were some good and bad ones on us,” Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch said Monday on WEEI radio. “As players, we need to remove ourselves from what the refs are doing and just go out and play our game.”
Last season’s AFC champions haven’t been doing that up to their usual standards, having lost 20-18 to Arizona before Sunday’s setback.
The Patriots led 30-21 with 10:50 left, then punted. The Ravens scored with 4:01 remaining, making it 30-28, but Tom Brady and the offense couldn’t use up the entire clock. Another punt gave Baltimore the ball with 1:58 remaining.
“We just don’t play well when we need to,” Brady said. “We’ve got to play our best when it means the most, and we need to start winning close games.”