NFL sack rule leads to another dispute after Patriots miss TD catch against Vikings for review

From time to time, the NFL’s rules on completions are brought back into the national spotlight with a controversial decision by officials. They returned in the glow of Thanksgiving night.

It appeared Hunter Henry had caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to give the Patriots a 29-23 third quarter lead over the Vikings. But hold everything. Before the Pats could attempt the PAT kick, the officials reviewed the catch (scoring plays are automatically reviewed) and determined that the pass was, in fact, incomplete.

Upon further review, it appeared that Henry had his hands around the side, possibly slightly below, of the ball and crossed the goal line. But when he hit the ground, the ball came loose and he plunged into her chest.

New England settled for a field goal to take a 26-23 lead. Minnesota eventually rallied to win 33-26.

Why, then, was the touchdown returned? Here is the best possible explanation.

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Why was Hunter Henry’s capture overturned?

There are several stages to the NFL’s sack rule.

The first is that the ball is secured in the hands or arms before the ball touches the ground and the player touches the ground with both feet or any part of his body other than his hands. The player then has to perform an act with the ball, such as extending the ball forward, which Henry did as he approached the goal line.

There are also some notes that come into play. One is that the movement of the ball does not result in a turnover. If a player secures the ball and touches the ground in bounds, but does not make a soccer move, the pass may be ruled incomplete if the ball touches the ground before he regains control.

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There are other aspects of the trapping rule, but those are the notes that would apply to Henry’s play.

NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay said on the broadcast that the pass was incomplete when the ball came loose after Henry hit the turf. Based on the review ruling, it would appear that the officials also believed that Henry did not have his hands under the ball.

There were comparisons on social media to a sack decision by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who completely lost possession of the ball when he crossed the goal line.

Former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who was on the wrong end of a famous no-receive call, had thoughts.

Bryant was far from the only NFL personality stunned by the incompletion call.

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