After his team returned to practice Tuesday following its bye week, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was asked his opinion on the ending.
“I personally feel like the flag went down for a reason, and it looked like a foul to me, OK," Fisher said. "So, that’s my opinion. Because I was not on the sideline, obviously, I can voice my opinion.”
For those few who might have missed it, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly wrapped both arms around Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski deep in the end zone as New England quarterback Tom Brady fired a pass for Gronkowski that represented the game-winning touchdown.
Back judge Terrence Miles threw a flag on the play, presumably for pass interference on Kuechly. But the call was never made as the officials convened and decided to pick up the flag, ending the game with Carolina on top. Official Clete Blakeman picked up the flag but did not offer an explanation as to why the call was not being made. That led to an enraged Brady chasing Blakeman into the tunnel and cursing him.
After the game, Blakeman offered an explanation of the play in a pool report.
“There were two officials that came in," Blakeman said. "One was the umpire [Garth DeFelice] and the other one was our side judge [Greg Meyer] and there was a discussion at that point as to the, in essence, the catchability of the ball due to its location.
“So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”
After the game, a clearly unhappy Bill Belichick discussed the play, well, sort of. He didn't offer much other than to say he got no explanation and recalled a similar situation in a game against Baltimore where he was ultimately fined for the way he pursued an explanation. He avoided any such words or actions that could get him fined.
Technically, the Panthers' win has little to do with the Rams though it did push one possible wild-card contender a full game further ahead of them in the NFC.
For Rams fans who still take pleasure in seeing the Patriots lose these many years after Super Bowl XXXVI, there was enjoyment to take from them losing via a controversial pass interference call. On the other hand, other Rams fans may still be seething from what happened in Carolina earlier this year.
A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... After the Ram-blings, I offered a list of five Rams to keep an eye on in the final six weeks of the season. … From there, it was a look at the Rams' Power Ranking as they dropped a spot to No. 21 despite not playing. ... Next, it was a full breakdown of any possibility the Rams have of making a playoff surge. Simply put, they need to win out. ... Finally, it was the news that quarterback Sam Bradford had his knee surgery Monday in Pensacola, Fla.
Eric Dickerson talked to ESPN.com's Cary Chow to discuss football safety issues Tuesday. Plenty of interesting thoughts from the Hall of Famer and former Ram.
At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas discussed the progress of receiver Brian Quick.
Thomas also participated in his weekly chat.