Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

Patriots try to explain season-high 14 penalties vs. Steelers: Referee said they're trying to call holding penalties 'tighter'

Ryan Hannable
December 17, 2018 - 7:29 am

PITTSBURGH -- Penalties were a major issue in the Patriots' 17-10 loss to the Steelers.

New England committed a season-high 14 penalties for 106 yards, including totaling 30 yards on the final two offensive possessions.

Speaking after the game, Tom Brady said one referee told him they were trying to call holding penalties "tighter."

“I don’t know. I didn’t see them,” Brady said of the holding penalties. “[The ref] said they’re trying to call those tighter. I don’t have the replay of them, so I don’t know how tight they are. Obviously, there is holding on every player in the NFL. That’s what we do. We hold. It’s just whether you get called or not. If they are calling it, then you just have to do a little bit less of it. That’s how you block. You hold. They’re holding, we’re holding.

“Sometimes they call them, sometimes they don’t. If they are calling them tight, then they’re calling them tight. I haven’t seen them. What do you guys think? Hard to say? That’s how I felt.”

Bill Belichick didn't offer much explanation for all the penalties.

“We have to do a better job,” he said.

Julian Edelman had two of the 14 penalties, which occurred before the snap on back-to-back plays.

“It was pretty frustrating,” Edelman said. “You can’t come into a hostile environment like Pittsburgh — it’s a football town, good football team, well-coached — and expect to win when you have penalties. We’ll leave it at that.”

The Steelers committed four penalties for 40 yards.

Related: Hannable: Enough with all the excuses, Patriots are what they are and that’s not good