FOXBOROUGH — An inadvertent officials’ whistle cost the Patriots a sure touchdown on their first drive of the second half Monday night against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.
As Tom Brady scrambled to his right he fired to Danny Amendola, who had his man beat and caught the ball in stride. Amendola had nothing but open real estate ahead — and at that point the whistle sounded and the play was ruled dead.
After a lengthy discussion, the referees said there was an inadvertent whistle and gave the Patriots credit for a 14-yard gain — the point where Amendola took possession. Additionally, the Bills sideline was hit with a 15-yard interference penalty.
After the game, Dean Blandino, the NFL vice president of officiating, said on NFL Network’s Total Access that a mistake was made.
“That’s a mistake and the whistle shouldn’t have been blown,” he said. “You’re wondering why it happened, but once it did happen, I thought the crew did a good job assessing what happened.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan said he wasn’t sure what happened on the play.
“The same way they explained it to you guys — it was an inadvertent whistle. Then it goes to the spot. And apparently I got a 15-yard penalty on it at the same time. I was like, ‘He blew the whistle! He blew the whistle!’” Ryan said.
“Our passrusher lets up and everything else. They completed the ball. I’m not sure what happened.”
However, the drive stalled from there and ended with Stephen Gostkowski missing a 54-yard field goal attempt. It was his first miss of the season.
Follow Jim McBride on Twitter @GlobeJimMcBride.