Morning Sports Update

Bill Belichick cited a Bills-Vikings controversy to explain why he favors an NFL rule change

"I don’t see why those plays can’t be reviewed."

Bill Belichick during a Patriots practice in November. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Bruins defeated the Canucks 5-2 on Sunday. Boston is now 14-2-0 to open the season.

The Celtics will face the Thunder at home tonight at 7:30 p.m.

And after being on a bye week this past weekend, the Patriots will be back this Sunday to play the Jets at Gillette Stadium at 1 p.m.

Bill Belichick’s opinion on reviewable calls: During Sunday’s back-and-forth matchup between the Bills and Vikings, a controversial moment occurred that would have loomed large had the game’s outcome ended differently.

As the Bills frantically drove downfield with less than a minute remaining in regulation for the eventual game-tying field goal, Buffalo receiver Gabriel Davis made what appeared to be a 20-yard catch.


Replays, however, showed that Davis seemed to trap the ball on the ground.

The call was not brought up for automatic review (and since it happened inside the two-minute warning, Minnesota could not challenge). Buffalo continued the drive, and eventually tied the game. Though the Vikings ended up winning in overtime, the missed call became a discussion point afterward.

NFL officiating executive Walt Anderson acknowledged it had been a mistake to not review Davis’ catch.

“Even though it happens fast and Buffalo hurries to the line of scrimmage for the next play, if the replay official can’t confirm that it was a catch on that long of a completed pass, we should stop play to ensure it was a catch,” Anderson told NFL reporter Lindsay Jones. “It would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because he did not maintain control of the ball after he hit the ground and the ball touched the ground out of bounds.”

On Monday, Bill Belichick was asked about the situation. In the past, the Patriots coach has advocated for changing the NFL review system to let coaches challenge “any two plays that you want.”

Does he still hold that opinion, and what did he think of the Sunday scenario in Buffalo?


“I’ve been in favor of that,” Belichick explained during his weekly interview with “The Greg Hill Show” on WEEI. “Now, I’m not in favor of adding more challenges, but challenging the plays. It’s just like in the Buffalo-Minnesota game. In that two-minute situation on the [Davis] catch on the sideline, that play could’ve been reviewed by the officials because it was under two minutes, and either it wasn’t or they missed it or however you want to characterize it.

“To me, that would be an example of a play that the team should have an opportunity to challenge if they want to and if they have a challenge left,” Belichick continued. “Again, there have been other examples of that, plays that have occurred in situations where teams couldn’t challenge because [it was] in two minutes or the rules prohibited those plays from being challenged. I get the forward progress and things like that that you can’t challenge. I’m not talking about that, but I’m saying not having the ability to challenge a play that could impact the outcome of a game — even calls like holding, pass interference, and things like that — I don’t see why those plays can’t be reviewed. But, again, it’s not my decision. So it is what it is.”


During a virtual press conference later on Monday, Belichick was asked by ESPN reporter Mike Reiss if his opinion on advocating for “any two plays” being reviewable was still the same.

“Nothing’s changed,” Belichick replied. “I think that, provided the team has a challenge, they should have the opportunity to challenge really any play. Yeah, I’m on record on that.”

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Linus Ullmark used every inch of his reach to keep the puck out:

On this day: In 1971 the Patriots defeated the Bills 38-33, with Jim Plunkett throwing four touchdown passes despite completing only nine passes in total in the game.

Elsewhere, the Bruins destroyed the Kings 11-2. Bobby Orr notched an amazing three goals and three assists.

Globe Sports 1971

Daily highlight: Justin Jefferson made one of the greatest catches in recent NFL history in the Vikings’ wild win over the Bills on Sunday.


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