Patriots

NFL’s VP of officiating explains why Hunter Henry catch was ruled incomplete

"The term that’s commonly used is ‘surviving the ground’ — a lot of people refer to that."

Hunter Henry thought he had a second touchdown reception in the Patriots' loss to the Vikings on Thanksgiving. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Hunter Henry had a touchdown wiped off the board during the Patriots’ Thursday night loss to Minnesota.

The call to rule the play as an incomplete pass sparked plenty of reaction.

Bill Belichick told reporters to ask the officials about what happened rather than him. Henry scratched his head and said he thought he caught it. Even a frustrated Dez Bryant tweeted that he was turning the game off after seeing the call.

After the game, ESPN’s Mike Reiss had a conversation with NFL vice president of officiating Walt Anderson about the ruling went the way it did.

Anderson said it was because Henry lost control of the ball when he went to the ground.

“Because as he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball upon contacting the ground,” Anderson said. “The term that’s commonly used is ‘surviving the ground’ — a lot of people refer to that. So, as he’s going to the ground, he has the elements of two feet and control, but because he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball when he does go to the ground.”

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Henry appeared to have two hands on the ball, and after the review, it looked like his hands were underneath the ball. But, the officials saw it differently and overturned the on-field ruling.

“Well, if he had maintained control of the ball with two hands, even if the ball were to touch the ground, if you don’t lose control of the ball after it touches the ground, that would still be a catch,” said Anderson.

The Vikings went on to win by a touchdown. New England’s next game will be an intriguing divisional matchup against Buffalo.

“They made the call, we have to live with it,” said Henry.

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