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Did he touch it?
Officials decided that he didn’t on replay, but it’s hard to justify overturning the call on the field after Julian Edelman was ruled to have muffed a punt at a critical juncture late in Sunday’s AFC championship game.
The New England Patriots wide receiver and punt returner saw a fourth-quarter punt bounce off the turf and through his hands, leading to a recovery at the Patriots 26-yard line by Kansas City Chiefs special team Gehrig Dieter.
Edelman immediately proclaimed that he never touched the ball, and officials automatically reviewed the turnover.
Officials agree with Edelman
To many watching the multiple high-definition replays with close-up angles showing the muffed ball by Edelman, it still wasn’t clear. The play looked too close to call, even via replay, which by rule would determine that the call on the field stands.
But replay officials decided there was enough evidence to overturn the call, claiming with absolute certainty that Edelman didn’t touch the ball.
Instead of the Chiefs getting the ball near the red zone trailing 17-14 with around eight minutes remaining, the Patriots retained possession holding the lead.
Chiefs get their turnover
But two plays later, the Chiefs got the result they sought. Tom Brady fired a pass to Edelman on a crossing route that bounced off his hands and into those of Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen.
Edelman ended up the recipient of a violent hit during Sorensen’s return.
The Chiefs went on to score two plays later on a Patrick Mahomes screen pass to Damien Williams that gave them a 21-17 lead with 7:45 remaining.
Patriots get the win
But Edelman and the Patriots eventually punched their ticket to the Super Bowl after a back-and-forth final quarter led to overtime and a 37-31 win for the ninth AFC championship game victory for Brady and Bill Belichick.
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