FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s Patriots win over the Packers, outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain was flagged for an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty, negating an interception by safety Brandon Meriweather.
After the game, Banta-Cain called the penalty “bull,” but noted he would need to take another look at the call. Speaking at a Patriots charity event at Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place on Monday evening, Banta-Cain softened his tone on the penalty.
“Obviously it’s a judgment call, but at the same time my hands were in the vicinity of his face. His were actually in mine too,” Banta-Cain said. “It was a judgment of the ref and he was actually front row, standing right by the play.
“Will that play get called nine out of 10 times? Probably not,” Banta-Cain continued. “But they caught me on that one so I've got to live with it.”
When the Packers tried to get off a last-second desperation pass, it was Banta-Cain who came up with the sack on Packers quarterback Matt Flynn to end the game. Banta-Cain didn’t see the play as personal redemption, but as redemption for his team’s overall performance.
“It wasn’t something where I was going in saying I had to go out and redeem myself,” Banta-Cain said. “I wasn’t thinking that negatively about what my play could potentially result in.
“I was more positive in the fact that we were making mistakes as a team. In the end I think it was a rewarding play from a full-team aspect. I didn’t make the play on my own.”
Going forward, Banta-Cain believes Sunday night’s close win will serve as a reminder of what it will take to win in the playoffs.
“It was a reminder that we need to have the attitude that it’s a one-game season and play like we’re already in the playoffs, because the habits that we form now are the ones [we will use] in the playoffs,” Banta-Cain said. “We have to play our best football.”
The Patriots will be able to clinch their second straight AFC East title Sunday in Buffalo.
“The implications for the playoffs are definitely in the cards,” Banta-Cain said of the matchup with the Bills. “This is a game that we don’t want to go in and allow ourselves to not play a full 60 minutes of football like we did last week.”