What Cole Strange and Mike Gesicki said about the lateral that nearly saved Patriots against Dolphins


“I saw one of the biggest people on the field on our offensive line, Cole, and I threw it to him.”

Cole Strange tried to extend the game for the Patriots on Sunday. Barry Chin/Globe Staff
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Mike Gesicki created enough separation for a catch on a crucial fourth-and-4 on the Patriots’ final drive, but he could tell he was just short of the first down marker.

So he turned and kept his head up, scanning the field for someone to lateral the ball to. He settled on offensive guard Cole Strange, who was trailing the play.

Strange leaped and made a spinning catch. He kept his feet churning towards the first down marker. Officials initially ruled that Strange had the first down, but the play was reviewed and the final ruling was that Strange was short of the line.

“I caught the ball and I feel like I came back to it, so I had a feeling that I was short,” Gesicki explained. “Also, it was on their sideline and I kind of heard people cheering as if it were short so right then and there I was like, ‘I can’t go down with the ball.’

“So, I knew if I could toss it back to somebody. I saw one of the biggest people on the field on our offensive line, Cole, and I threw it to him. I thought we had it, but unfortunately, we didn’t.”

For the second week in a row, the Patriots lost a heartbreaker with the ball in their hands during the final minute.

“It feels close but it is kind of aggravating, trying to beat close,” Strange said.

Gesicki slammed his helmet in frustration after the play.

“There’s just a lot of work that goes into these,” Gesicki said. “You only get 17 opportunities and two of them are gone now. But ultimately, we’ve got 15 to go and a lot of football ahead of us. A lot of hard workers, a lot of great coaches, this is a great organization to be a part of and we have to get back to work tomorrow.”

Strange, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive guard, said he couldn’t remember the last time he caught a football in a game. He felt that he had the first down, but the final ruling proved otherwise.

“I caught it, I ran it, and I didn’t get it,” Strange said. “There’s not that much to it.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to comment about what he saw on the play.

“Yeah, you should talk to the officials,” Belichick said. “I’m sure they’ll do a pool report on that.”

Quarterback Mac Jones said that he had two option routes on the play and picked the one that Gesicki ran. Ultimately, Gesicki caught the ball and made a heads-up play that nearly saved the drive, but the Patriots finished just short for the second week in a row.

“Yeah, the biggest thing is just we’re close,” Jones said. “We drove the ball pretty well, just didn’t get it in. Last week, we were behind and kind of scored some touchdowns.”

“You know, and if we can combine those two things, move the ball, and then get it in the red zone, I think everyone would be smiling right now,” Jones continued. “So that’s the biggest thing, just watch the tape and see how we can get it in, make it easier on the defense and special teams.”