Ref: Review call on Gronk catch was too late

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a spectacular catch late in the first half against the Houston Texans -- unless he didn't.

Gronk's controversial 28-yard catch between two Texans defenders helped set up a Patriots touchdown five plays later to take a 21-6 lead into the locker room. But replays of the catch immediately cast doubt on whether Gronkowski had possession of the ball when he went down, so why wasn't it reviewed?

Well, NFL officials in New York tried to get the on-field officials' attention, but the call to the field came too late, referee Tony Corrente said after the Patriots' 27-20 victory.

"...The situation was that New York did get back to us," Corrente said, per the official pool report. "However, unfortunately, they didn't get to the game officials on the field until after the play had already started. ... They got to us on the field, but the play had already developed. It had started."

Since coaches cannot challenge on-field calls after the two-minute warning, they are forced to rely on the review officials to look at all questionable on-field calls during that period. If Texans coach Bill O'Brien had thrown the red challenge flag after the play, he would have been penalized.

O'Brien could've called a timeout in an effort to give Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, a chance to get in touch with his officials, but as O'Brien said after the game, he shouldn't have to use a timeout in order to give referees time to determine whether a play should be reviewed.

"It's not my job to do that," O'Brien said. "... That's not my job to call a time out, to make their job easier. You know, what I am trying to do is make sure we go into halftime ... down 14-6. Say I call a time out there, they rule it a catch, now the Patriots have more time to put a play together."

Aaron Colvin, one of the players covering Gronk on the play, wasn't happy about what happened.

"That's BS in my opinion," Colvin said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "I don't think he caught that ball. I think that was the big play in the game, but it is what it is. We got to get that ball and make it unquestionable."