Using the refs as an excuse, some blatant holds on Deion Branch

That's not to say that that is what I intend to do here. In fact, I don't blame the loss on a couple of missed calls by the refs, I blame it on a lot of other things. However. CSNNE's Tom Curran has a great piece that breaks down some of the most questionable calls or non calls against the Patriots.

There's three plays he references. One is at the end of the game, a DPI on Deion Branch that wasn't called. Would have helped the Patriots close the game out. The second is the intentional grounding play, where Deion Branch was held but it wasn't called. The third is the Braylon Edwards touchdown, which was called DPI but was clearly OPI.

Curran says he asked both Brady and Branch about it and they both referenced non calls on that intentional grounding series. With some photo evidence its clear Branch was being abused there.

On both the second and third-down plays before the half, Branch was Brady's first read and on both plays, Branch was in the embrace of linebacker K.J. Wright when Brady looked to him.

On the second-down play, Brady reloaded and threw late to Rob Gronkowski. That pass was nearly intercepted by Earl Thomas.

On the third-down play with six seconds left in the half, Brady had ducked from pressure and, upon finding Branch in a chokehold, threw it out of the end zone. The result then was an intentional grounding and the 10-second runoff that cost the Patriots a chance to score any points before the break.

Brady's gotten a lot of heat for bungling the final play of the half and it's been alleged locally that the Patriots were arrogant for not taking the field goal at that point. The fact is, though, that the Patriots actually ran the play in four seconds and -- had Brady not been called for grounding -- there should have been two seconds on the clock.

The mistake wasn't running the play. The mistake was that Brady should have thrown the ball at Branch's feet to attract attention to the ongoing hold and stop the clock.

And the bigger mistake was the blatant defensive holding that went uncalled

That said, the Patriots deserved to lose. Tom Brady threw two picks, the defense couldn't stop the deep ball - even if it was thrown by a receiver.

Still, for those that want to use referees as excuses, here's your ammunition.