The Miami Dolphins lost a tough and frustrating game to the New York Jets today on a last second field goal. The story after the game was on 3rd and 18 at the 48 and with no timeouts, the Jets threw an incomplete pass, but with the game under 2 minutes a booth review was called for potential pass interference. It was determined that defensive back Nik Needham interfered on the play and the penalty gave the Jets a first down and a couple plays later kicked a field goal to win the game. It’s a tough pill to swallow for head coach Brian Flores, who ran to the officials after the game in disgust, and his team, but it’s not the reason they lost.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) December 9, 2019
The Dolphins lost this game because they were in the red zone 6 times and in those trips, they didn’t score 1 touchdown. Instead they came away with 5 field goals and 1 missed field goal. You can’t win games settling for field goals in the red zone and you must take advantage of your opportunities. If the Dolphins scored touchdowns instead of settling for field goal, this game wouldn’t have come down to the final possession because the game would have been over, and the Dolphins would have won in a blowout. The Jets stole the game because of this. The Dolphins consistently moved the ball between the 20s, but then stalled and settled for 3 points. Yes I think it’s horrible that replay decided to look at a play for potential pass interference and I don’t believe it deserved to be over turned, but again the Dolphins didn’t score touchdowns in the red zone so the Jets hung around and found a way to win.
Full disclosure I officiate high school football. I’ve done it for 9 seasons now and one thing that being an official has taught me is seeing the game from all perspectives and not just as a fan. I’ve had games that were close and there were calls either by myself or other officials that might have impacted a game that was, but in close games there are always plays and opportunities teams have that they miss that come back to bite them in a close game. It gets overshadowed by an official’s call or in this case a review from upstairs. Being an official is a thank less job. Officials do the best they can, and they are human. They make mistakes which are more under the microscope than the good calls they make. I think the officials on the field made a good non call and the play that was overturned by replay because to me it wasn’t an obvious call. I don’t throw a flag in a close game unless it is obvious, but unfortunately in the NFL you have replay and throws a different dynamic into officiating.
As an official, I hated when the NFL decided to add pass interference into replay because I feel it takes away from judgement calls. We do miss call, but if we are going to review everything then why have officials on the field. I said last year in the NFC Championship game, the non-call on the missed pass interference didn’t cost the New Orleans Saints the game against the Los Angeles Rams. In their game, they had 3 red zone chances in the 1st quarter and came away with 1 touchdown and 2 field goals. Instead of being up 21-0, they were up 13-3 and the Rams hung around and eventually beat them in overtime to go to the Super Bowl. For that reason, the NFL adopted instant replay for pass interference, and they have been so inconsistent with this in replay it’s gotten to the point that I hate it. I know the circumstances of that game is different from the Dolphins game, but the concepts are the same.
The Dolphins like all teams need to take advantage of their red zone opportunities so it doesn’t come back to bite them in the 4th quarter like it did yesterday. In a close game, those are the reasons you can lose a game instead of an official’s call.