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Barry Church Reacts To ‘Tough Call’ On Rob Gronkowski Hit In AFC Title Game

FOXBORO, Mass.
— The Jacksonville Jaguars had all the momentum in the first half of the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, but it seemed to disappear in two minutes.
Trailing 14-3, the Patriots got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with just over two minutes left.
After moving the ball near midfield, Tom Brady threw a ball up the seam intended for Rob Gronkowski.
After the game, Church noted that it’s a difficult call, but he was “just trying to play football.” “I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church said.
“He’s a big dude and I was trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit.
I know he didn’t come back, so I hope he’s alright.
“It was a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football.
I tried to lead with my shoulder.” The veteran safety, however, was quick to not blame the officials for Jacksonville’s loss.
We had two crucial penalties that — me, unnecessary roughness, whatever was called, and the pass interference, they swayed the game a bit.

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church
Photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Jacksonville Jaguars had all the momentum in the first half of the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, but it seemed to disappear in two minutes.

Trailing 14-3, the Patriots got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with just over two minutes left. After moving the ball near midfield, Tom Brady threw a ball up the seam intended for Rob Gronkowski. As the star tight end stretched for the ball, Jaguars safety Barry Church met him there with his head/shoulder and jarred the ball free, appearing to force a second-and-10.

But the officials deemed that Church led with his head, and flagged him for an unnecessary roughness penalty, giving the Patriots a first down at the Jags’ 45-yard line.

New England would score two plays later to cut the lead to…

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