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CallsSunday’s Wild Card officiating

Sunday’s Wild Card officiating

Ravens at Chiefs

Mike Carey is the referee.

1st Quarter, 6:26 remaining. The Chiefs challenged the spot of the ball in relation to the first-down marker. Since Ravens running back Ray Rice landed with his hand first, he was not considered down until another part of his body contacted the ground. Ravens got the first down, which was upheld by replay.

3rd Quarter, :21 remaining. A ruling of a sack-fumble by Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was challenged by the Chiefs. Under the controversial so-called tuck rule, Cassel was found to be still in the act of passing, so Webb knocking the ball out of Cassel’s hand should have resulted in an incomplete pass, rather than a fumble. Carey reversed the on-field ruling to an incomplete pass, marking the first replay reversal of the playoffs an the end of the eleventh quarter of this weekend games.

Packers at Eagles

Pete Morelli is the referee.

4th Quarter, 4:08 remaining. On a two-point conversion attempt, a huge administrative error was averted. A pass to Eagles receiver Brent Celek was completed for two points, however he stepped out of bounds prior to catching the pass (video). A penalty was assessed because a player who steps out of bounds cannot be the first player to touch a pass (illegal-touching-of-a-pass penalty). Celek caught the ball after he returned to (and re-established himself in) the field of play, however Morelli ruled that the conversion try was over. This would be correct if illegal touching is a loss-of-down penalty.

Before the ensuing kickoff, Eagles coach Andy Reid protested that his team should get another chance at the conversion try. One unidentified member of the officiating crew corrected the call, that the five-yard penalty must be assessed and the conversion try attempted from the 7-yard line. The point was moot as the Eagles failed on the second try, but thankfully the error was corrected in a timely fashion, even if slightly delayed.

4th Quarter, 1:06 remaining. Celek was injured on an incomplete pass later in the quarter. When an injury occurs in the final two minutes of the game, a team is charged a timeout. However, since the Eagles had already used all three timeouts, they were granted a fourth, free of penalty. According to Rule 4, Section 5, Article 4:

(d) No yardage penalty will be assessed for the first excess team timeout.

4th Quarter, :33 remaining. Tramon Williams intercepted Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the end zone to seal the victory, but it could have reversed fortunes back to the Eagles. Williams left the end zone without being ruled down by contact, so the play continued to be live (video). If he had spiked or otherwise let go of the ball, it would have been considered a fumble. Fortunately for Williams, he went to the ground at the 4-yard line to end the play.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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