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Ed Hochuli Stains Patriots-Ravens With Horrendous Call To Negate Trey Flowers Strip Sack

By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Ed Hochuli was not going to escape a national TV broadcast without making at least one of his signature over-explanations of a penalty. American households may have set a record for channels changed when Hochuli explained in great detail why a lineman lifting his hand off the ground constituted a false start. Ed ... We get it.

Mr. Pedantic was in full force on Monday night during the Patriots' 30-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, chiming in on several occasions with his patented long-winded explanations of otherwise simple penalties and calls. Hochuli's self-appreciation of his own voice is to be expected and it can be quite annoying and tedious to listen to, but that usually just results in groans and eye-rolls. He becomes an actual problem when he begins to over-officiate games with calls that range from questionable to egregious and utterly unnecessary.

Hochuli made a call just minutes into the game on the Ravens' first possession that has to rank with the worst calls of his career, perhaps the worst call made by any referee this season. It's hard to overstate how badly he and the rest of the officiating crew missed this play and messed up the call. It came on Trey Flowers' strip-sack of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, which would have been hard to see in real-time but became plainly obvious on the replay. You can clearly see that Flowers takes the ball from Flacco's hands before the quarterback hit the ground then was down by contact with possession. One of the most clear-cut strip-sacks you'll ever see.

Trey Flowers strip-sacks Joe Flacco
(Screen shot courtesy of

It should have been the Patriots' ball on the play and Bill Belichick would have easily won a challenge - if he were able to throw the flag. Unfortunately, Hochuli ruled that Flacco's forward progress had been stopped, which by league rules rendered the play dead and non-reviewable. The Patriots were robbed of a chance to take an early lead on a short field thanks to Hochuli's unique combination of aggressively meddlesome officiating and gross incompetence.

The call was bad on many levels: the entire officiating team apparently missed Flowers literally ripping the ball out of Flacco's hands, and decided that it would make up for it by making a call that deprived Belichick of the ability to challenge the play, which would have certainly given the Patriots the ball. It obviously didn't end up affecting the outcome of the game, but it could have unnecessarily set a bad early tone. Hochuli's lucky that the Patriots came to play in all three phases of the game and his intrusive over-officiating didn't hurt them in the end.

One has to hope that the Hochuli virus doesn't infect the Patriots in a playoff game.

Matt Dolloff is a writer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at

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