Kevin Seifert NFL Nation
NFL SVP of officiating Dean Blandino noted what could have been a major play late in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI. On this play, the Falcons' Vic Beasley Jr. hits Patriots QB Tom Brady as he throws a pass that was caught by TE Martellus Bennett for a 15-yard gain. Brady's arm had just started moving forward, making it a legal pass. If it had been ruled a fumble, however, the ball would have been moved back by rule to the spot of the fumble. Inside of two minutes, only the player who fumbled can advance the ball. So the Patriots would have faced third-and-12 at the 23-yard line instead of having a first-and-10 at the 43 with 1:43 left. That would have made it much more difficult for the Patriots to drive for the 41-yard field goal they eventually got out of the drive.