Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was intercepted as the game ended, but it looked like tight end Rob Gronkowski got held by Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly with a flag initially thrown before referee Clete Bakeman waved off the flag after determining that the pass was underthrown and wasn't catchable by Gronkowski.
"So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was [immediately] at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone," Blakeman told a pool reporter. "So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred."
Added Gronkowski: "It just wasn't completed, and there was no flag. "There was a flag, but it got called back. I don't even know why they threw it, and there's just no excuse. I'm not trying to be here to make excuses; [the Panthers are] a good football team, they scored more points than us and they beat us straight up."
Brady said the Patriots shouldn't have been in that position to need to score on the final play of the game.
"I wish it wouldn't come down to that," Brady said. "I think there are plenty of plays we could have made. But it did, and they are going to make a call or they are not going to make a call. We can play better than that."