There was a confusing clock situation late in the Patriots-Broncos game that seemed like a refereeing gaffe, and seemed to hurt the Patriots. It made Bill Belichick yell WHAT THE F*** at one unfortunate ref.
The Patriots managed to drive the field for a game-tying field goal in a thrilling Sunday Night Football matchup against the Broncos. As they drove, Tom Brady completed a pass to Scott Chandler, and he was tackled by Aqib Talib and Malik Jackson with about 24 seconds left. Jackson was hurt, and couldn't make it off the field. The Broncos didn't have any timeouts, so the referees called an "excess timeout" to allow Jackson to get off the field.
After that excess timeout, the clock began to run. The Patriots didn't expect this or realize it was happening. Although they were set, they let nearly 10 seconds run off the clock.
Excess timeouts don't function like regular timeouts. They're just meant to get injured players off the field. After a regular timeout, the clock runs when the ball is snapped. After an excess timeout, the clock runs as if the timeout had never been called. This helps allow for a way to get injured players off the field without allowing an easy way for teams to stop the clock by "faking" injuries.
Since the ball was down in the field of play, the clock was supposed to run when the ref signaled ready for play. The refs handled the situation correctly.
The Patriots ended up getting in field goal range anyway, and they lost in overtime, so it's a moot point. But hopefully this can convince some Pats fans this call wasn't part of an NFL conspiracy against their team. That way they can focus on all the other questionable calls against the Patriots.
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