Questionable Officiating, Unforced Mistakes Keep Indianapolis Colts From Advancing

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The game was set up for another Andrew Luck-led comeback. The Indianapolis Colts trailed by only seven points after the third quarter of play and had the ball to start the fourth quarter.

Only problem was they should have been ahead.

If it wasn’t for some terrible officiating in the third quarter and some unforced errors by the Colts then this AFC divisional game could have had a different outcome.

Take the end of the second quarter for example. If Stanley Havili catches the ball like he’s paid to do, Indianapolis gets at least a field goal there. He couldn’t hang on to the ball and it bounced off his shoulder pads to a New England Patriots defender.

Unforced error.

Instead of being 21-15 at worst or 21-19 at best, the Colts trailed 21-12 at the half.

Then in the third quarter that’s where it got real fishy.

The refs blew a bad call when they called pass interference on Josh Gordy on third down which gave New England a first and goal. The Patriots scored a touchdown on that play to put them back up 14. It was a crucial third down miss so instead of a punt they got a touchdown.

Give them seven there.

Then on the Colts’ end, a Patriots defender tackled Griff Whalen on third down and the refs swallowed the whistle.

Excuse me?

Colts get called on a PI when there was no contact by the defender on an under-thrown uncatchable ball, but the Patriots don’t get called on a tackle when the ball was thrown right to him?


Add to the fact a couple of blown holding penalties none bigger than the missed one on No. 47 on New England (I won’t even bother to try and type his name) when he grabbed Robert Mathis’ shoulder pads, spun him and tackled him allowing LeGarrette Blount an open lane to the end zone which gave the Patriots another seven.

Yes, I know LaRon Landry missed a tackle, but it should have been a 10 yard holding penalty at the line of scrimmage. Credit New England 14 points and take at least three to 10 from Indianapolis and this game is much different in the final quarter.

This is why a few plays and blown calls can change the outcome of the game. Inexcusable.

Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru.

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  • Dylan Fowler

    How can you even say that with a straight face. The Patriots game plan was to run it and force the Colts D too stop the run. They couldn’t do it. The entire Rant Sports front page is about how the Colts got robbed. They lost by 21 points, they couldn’t tackle Blount or Ridley. The Refs didn’t hand the Patriots this game, they dominated on a physical level and never trailed. End of Story.

    • Farva55

      I don’t think I’ve read a story suggesting the refs were the sole reason for the loss. Colts played like dog doo-doo. However, doesn’t change the fact the officiating was pretty slanted.

  • Nicholas Fogle

    make the right calls in the playoffs these blown calls were momentum killers and bs all benefitting the pat if you don’t see it your in denial, not saying colts had the win but with correct calls it was anyones game. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THID NFL!!!!

  • Alex

    I love Colts fans. The Colts lose and the other team was either cheating or the game was officiated unfairly. How do you honestly not mention that the Colts’ defense gave up 87 points to two barely above average offenses in the playoffs? Or that Luck threw 7 Int’s in those games? I believe the Colts lost this one all by themselves.

    • king gram

      I’m not a colts fan and I thought the calls were going against them, when the back judge missed 3 calls by my count it is fishy, and not the first time I seen it with the pats in big favor.

    • Farva55

      Not a colts fan. The officiating was incredibly bad against them. Is what it is.

  • Mike Sullivan

    The officiating of late has been so bad, especially on critical calls, that I’ve pretty much stopped watching. You really have to wonder how much the Vegas long arms have reached into the game!!

  • ndelaplane

    You cant argue that these calls were terrible. And when you consider the fact that going into the fourth quarter it was still a 6 point game, to argue that these calls were insignificant is just idiotic. Yes, Luck threw 7 int’s in the last 2 games. That happens when you are trying to come from behind. You take risks and it bites you in the ass from time to time. But these calls and non calls undoubtedly could have changed the game drastically. That being said…any boxing fan knows…if you want the win…you dont let the judges decide…you get a knockout. The Colts should have never let their team be in a position where some of these calls could potentially keep them from a win. Simple as that…no excuses. You want a win…you show up and take it or go home.

  • longtail

    I hate bad officiating too but it’s not quite as easy as it looks on TV. In order for a team to be assured of winning you need to beat the other team soundly because you can always loose a close game.

  • Tony Crouch

    You didn’t even mention the tripping call to Andrew Luck which was missed and would have given Indy a first down instead of punting.