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Esiason: Penalties Should Be Reviewable, Because Referees Overreact To Big Hits

BOSTON (CBS) - It looked bleak at times, but the Patriots escaped San Diego with a 23-14 win on Sunday Night Football.

Thankfully New England came away with the win, otherwise the entire week of sports talk radio would have been spent discussing the penalty call that lost the Patriots the game.

The play came with 6:44 left to play in the third quarter, with the Chargers holding on to a 14-13 lead. Philip Rivers passed to Ladarius Green, and the tight end bobbled the ball as he ran across the field. Brandon Browner then lowered his shoulder and hit Green, popping the ball into the air and sending Green down to the turf.

Safety Devin McCourty caught the ball and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. This would-be game changing play came at a time when the Patriots offense was looking as bad as it has all season, so it was a tremendously important play.

But it didn't count. Browner was flagged for going helmet-to-helmet on Green, thereby negating the interception and touchdown and also giving the Chargers 15 free yards.

Looking at the evidence, it was anything but "helmet to helmet."

Luckily for the Patriots Akeem Ayers came up with an interception later in the drive and it didn't end up determining the outcome of the game.

On Monday morning, 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich had on CBS Sports football analyst and WFAN radio host Boomer Esiason for his weekly appearance.

The aforementioned penalty was a big topic of discussion, and the former league MVP is all in favor of making penalties reviewable.

"When you think about these plays and the significance of what these plays can lead to, I'm all in favor of [reviews]. It was obvious Brandon Browner did exactly what you wanted him to do; he removed his head from the equation," Boomer said of the hit. "I would imagine that Dean Blandino, the head of officiating for the NFL, is probably going to come out either today or tomorrow and say that it was the right call because it grazed his facemask, but I don't know what these players have to do."

In the past, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has campaigned to make all plays reviewable, including penalties, and that the normal challenge rules would apply.

The movement will probably gain more momentum in the offseason, one that Esiason fully agrees with.

"Back in my day that would have been a normal hit and nobody would have said anything. I think these officials are overreacting. And if they are overreacting, and much like Bill Belichick is saying, you have to put it in the category of review because that could have changed the game last night."

With all the timeouts and commercials already in place, Fred is concerned that more reviews will make the pace of play unbearable. But Boomer thinks getting the call right in the end is paramount.

"I don't really worry about [pace of play], I just worry about getting the call right," Boomer told Fred. "The right team should win the game. Plays like last night, and players like Browner shouldn't be penalized for making the right play. I thought it was just a tremendous hit. He didn't launch himself. He took his head out of the equation, and that's what the NFL is trying to get to. You should reward players for plays like that; you shouldn't penalize them."

Listen below!


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