Only four points separated the Jags and the Patriots when all was said and done on Sunday. However, the point differential wasn’t all the Jaguars were upset about at the end of the game; they were also upset about the penalty differential.
The Patriots were made history when they were assessed only one penalty during the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars. It was the first time that had happened since the last time the Patriots did it:
The Patriots were called for 1 penalty against the Jaguars
It is the fewest penalties called on one team in a playoff game since the 2011 AFC Championship… when the Patriots were called for 1 penalty in a win over the Ravens
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 21, 2018
Conversely, the Jaguars were penalized six times for 98 yards. A disparity that was not lost on Jacksonville’s A.J. Bouye, who drew one of the more significant penalties of the contest.
According to ESPN, “Bouye was especially upset about Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmorenot being called for pass interference against receiver Dede Westbrook on a fourth-down pass late in the game, a 32-yard pass interference call against him late in the first half that set up a touchdown, and Patriots receiver Danny Amendola not being called for head-butting safety Tashaun Gipson after a play in the third quarter.”
Bouye said, “I was pissed because I seen Amendola head-butt the hell out of Gip in front of the ref and you all don’t call nothing? It don’t make no sense man; it’s a lot of stuff that don’t make no sense. I have a lot of respect for these people in this locker room. They kept fighting, we all kept fighting. We knew there was stuff we couldn’t control and we kept it close.”
Specifically, Bouye felt like the Patriots were trying to provoke the Jaguars into committing more penalties.
“I’m going to defend my teammates,” Bouye said. “You all see it on TV, the one where Amendola head-butted Gip. Right after the whistle was blown. Right in front of them. I’m just asking how you going to let them do that?
“I understand you’re all going to let us play but we know they’re going to try to instigate stuff. They head-butted my man. C’mon man.”
As ESPN explains, “The Jaguars were called for two defensive pass interference penalties against the Patriots. They had been flagged for an NFL-low five during the regular season. The Jaguars also had the NFL’s least-penalized defense this season, with a total of nine penalties (accepted or declined). Per the NFL, the Patriots’ one penalty is the fewest in a playoff game since 2011, when the Patriots were called for one in a victory over Baltimore.”
Bouye wasn’t the only Jaguar upset over the officiating. When Jaguars linebacker Miles Jack was informed about the 1:6 penalty disparity between Jacksonville and New England, he said he felt the numbers spoke for themselves.
“Interesting,” Jack said. “My thoughts on that is … yeah, that’s kind of self-explanatory. I didn’t know that.
“I’ll just say that’s self-explanatory. Interesting. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Jacksonville defensive end Malik Jackson had a similar reaction when told about the penalties.
“The stats speak for themselves,” Jackson said.
However, Bouye did emphasize that the officiating didn’t cost Jacksonville the game.
“You all see it,” Bouye explained. “I got players hitting me up in the NFL saying the same thing. But at the end of the day we can’t put the blame on them. We didn’t execute good enough. They executed good enough.”