Football Zebras
CallsLive blog: Ravens at Patriots (2011)

Live blog: Ravens at Patriots (2011)

AFC Championship

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Ravens-Patriots game.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Alberto Riveron. His crew contains members from other officiating squads that were rating in the top three this season. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 11:59 pm EDT

Squawking gesture earns a 15

Video

Chargers cornerback Desmond King made a gesture to Bills receiver Zay Jones as he left the field, which was later described as mocking his talking to the official about a perceived foul. This drew an easy 15-yard taunting foul as the Chargers stopped the Bills on third down. Additionally, it put King one step towards an automatic ejection for 2 similar unsportsmanlike fouls.

While described by some as a “ticky-tack” call, in reality there cannot be one for taunting. To excuse this invites a proportionate response at minimum. Before long, games spiral out of control of the officials, and it becomes difficult to equitably assess the over-the-line call when some have been allowed to pass.

King claims that it was all in good fun, as he and Jones know each other. Of course, officials cannot gauge that, and must take the gesture pointed at an opponent at face value.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 9:46 pm EDT

Good teamwork on long TD

Video

Down judge Kevin Codey and side judge Eugene Hall work well on this long Dede Westbrook touchdown catch and run.

Codey is responsible to make sure Westbrook stays in-bounds all the way to the goal line. Hall’s job is to defend the goal line. Hall judges of the ball broke the plane and Codey rules in or out of bounds. 

As Codey was watching the sideline, Hall was looking at the blocking while making a break to the goal line.

Good work by the sideline tandem.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 7:22 pm EDT

Ejection for unnecessary roughness

Video

LeGarrette Blount was ejected from today’s Lions-49ers game for coming off the bench and shoving 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee after Lee hit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford as he was running out of bounds. Stafford was still in bounds so there was no penalty for a hit on the quarterback out of bounds. 

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 6:57 pm EDT

Good goal line mechanics

Video

Nice job by line judge Greg Bradley to break for the goal line at the snap inside the five yard line. 

It is important for the wing official to be stationary at the goal line when the ball gets there.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 6:24 pm EDT

Rare face mask penalty on the ball carrier

Video

D.J. Reed of the 49ers returns the opening kickoff of the third quarter for a touchdown, but is called for a personal foul face mask penalty. Reed stiff-armed the defender…but never let go. The defender fell and Reed actually dragged the defender by his face mask.

First-year referee Shawn Hochuli on the call.

Incidentally, Reed’s return is one of the longest non-scoring plays in the NFL.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 5:11 pm EDT

2 illegal forward passes in the same game

Video

Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert tried to channel his sidelined teammate Marcus Mariotta. In last year’s wild card game, Mariotta caught his own deflected pass and scored a touchdown. Gabbert caught his pass, but found himself 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He then attempted a second forward pass, which is nothing but illegal, but was actually somewhat fortuitous.

A second pass behind the line is 5 yards from the previous spot, and repeat the down. Presumably, the rule is accounting for a confusing play and not a tactical advantage, therefore a lighter sentence for the double pass. An illegal pass beyond the line is a spot foul and loss of down, because the offense gets credit for the play up to the illegal throw, which is a sensible assessment under the circumstances. In this case, the Texans can accept the foul for a 1st-and-15 or decline for a 2nd-and-10.

I would expect this rule to be changed in the offseason.

Video

With 17 seconds remaining in the game, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson consumed the entire amount of time on one play, completing to DeAndre Hopkins for 31 yards. On the play, Watson crossed the line of scrimmage, returned to the line and threw the ball. This is an illegal forward pass.

Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, there cannot be a legal forward pass for the remainder of the down, even if the ball goes back behind the line. In this case, the ball is deemed to have crossed the line if the ball carrier has his entire body beyond the line. No flag was thrown, and I can understand holding the flag on the final play when it doesn’t change the result, even though I don’t support that. Although it is reviewable, replay will not initiate a review if there are only fantasy implications.

Had there been time, this would be penalized the same as Gabbert’s pass: 5 yards from the previous spot and repeat the down. This would not be a 10-second runoff.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 4:25 pm EDT

Roughing the passer negates INT in Green Bay

Late in the fourth quarter Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews was hit with a roughing the passer penalty to extend the Vikings game-tying drive. (See separate post.)

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 3:57 pm EDT

Browns score touchdown at the pylon

Video

On a Browns pass to the end zone, line judge Mark Steinkerchner throws a flag on cornerback Patrick Robinson. Looking downfield, Steinkerchner had the view on the arm bar that caused running back Duke Johnson to lose his balance.

On the 3rd-and-goal play, Steinkerchner makes the call at the pylon as Carlos Hyde gets the ball across the plane of the goal for a Browns touchdown before losing possession. On the snap, you can see the officiating mechanics of this type of play, as Steinkerchner breaks for the goal line on the snap, signals backward pass, and is in place for the touchdown call.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 3:42 pm EDT

Packers try to call timeout when they have none

Late in the first half and following a play that ended in bounds, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried to call timeout even though the Packers had none remaining. Referee Tony Corrente ignored the request and play continued without interruption. It is only a foul for an extra timeout if the officials stop the clock to administer the timeout, in which case it is a five yard delay of game penalty. Officials are instructed to ignore the request if they are aware that the team is out of timeouts, so Corrente handled this situation correctly.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 3:23 pm EDT

You make the call on Bills punt recovery

Video

On a Chargers punt, returner Marcus Murphy muffs the catch at the 5, which is then recovered by teammate Taiwan Jones in the end zone. Jones loses his helmet in the end zone and is tackled without his helmet there.

You make the call. How is this ruled?

As soon as Murphy touches the ball, either team may recover when it becomes loose. Because Murphy does not catch the ball — punt catches have the same process as a pass — he is not charged with possession. It is correctly ruled a muffed punt rather than a fumble. This distinction is key, because on all kicking plays, the following applies: “a kick is a kick until it is possessed.”

When the ball is loose in the end zone, it is still nominally a kick. That means that, by rules standards, the kick is the impetus that put the ball in the end zone. Therefore, a dead-ball is in the end zone treated as a touchback, not a safety, since the Chargers provided the impetus to put it in the end zone. (There are exceptions if a Bills foul occurs in the end zone after possession.)

When Jones recovers the ball, it is a declared dead ball in the end zone as soon as he loses his helmet and a touchback. If the play is a fumbled ball and not a muffed punt, this would be a safety.

Uchenna Nwosu on the Chargers punting team is charged with unnecessary roughness as well. Any ball carrier, regardless of whether he is still running around, cannot be hit when he loses his helmet, because the ball is clearly dead. This applies even if there is no whistle.

After the foul is assessed, the Bills have the ball 1st-and-10 at the 35.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 2:45 pm EDT

No illegal forward pass on Steelers TD

Video

As the first half came to a close in Pittsburgh, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed a touchdown pass to James Washington to lessen their deficit against Kansas City. Roethlisberger came very close to crossing the line of scrimmage on the pass, but no flag was thrown, and there was no stoppage to review the touchdown. Although part of Roethlisberger’s body may have crossed the line of scrimmage, the ball was released prior to breaking the plane of the line of scrimmage, so it is a legal pass. Any part of the quarterback’s body can be on or behind the line of scrimmage when the ball is released to constitute a legal pass.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 2:37 pm EDT

Roughing the passer

Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was flagged for roughing the passer as he drove quarterback Aaron Rodgers into the ground immediately after Rodgers threw a pass. This is a point of emphasis this season with officials watching closely to see if players use all or part of their body weight to land on a quarterback during a hit. Officials will emphasize that defenders are responsible for avoiding these types of hits. This is a point emphasis after a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr in Minnesota last season that injured Rodgers with a broken collarbone. 

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 2:24 pm EDT

Helmet-to-helmet ejection

Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cam Newton (see separate post)

 

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 16 • 1:23 pm EDT

Kemp’s regular season debut

Referee Alex Kemp has his regular season debut in the Eagles-Buccaneers game. Kemp’s crew was off last week. Kemp is one of four new officials promoted to the referee position this year. 

Kemp is the son of the late Stan Kemp, who was also an NFL referee.

the Football Zebras.com staff
Sun Sep 9 • 12:43 pm EDT

Today’s officials

Week 2 referee assignments

2018 officiating crews

Substitutions

  • LJ90 Mike Spanier (swing official) to Vinovich’s crew as DJ (CAR-ATL)
  • DJ16 Kevin Codey and DJ94 Hugo Cruz swapped crews, and are on Cheffers’ (NE-JAX) and Hussey’s (OAK-DEN) crews, respectively
  • SJ1 Scott Novak to Corrente’s crew (MIN-GB)
  • FJ116 Mike Weatherford (swing official) to Allen’s crew as SJ (MIA-NYJ)

Today’s crew, listed with the referee they worked under in the regular season:

  • R — #57 Alberto Riveron (8th year, 4th as referee)
  • U — #115 Tony Michalek (10th year, Ron Winter)
  • HL — #79 Kent Payne (8th year, Carl Cheffers)
  • LJ — #47 Tim Podraza (4th year, Mike Carey)
  • FJ — #33 Steve Zimmer (15th year, Riveron)
  • SJ — #97 Tom Hill (13th year, Winter)
  • BJ — #61 Keith Ferguson (12th year, Leavy
  • Alternates — Walt Anderson (#66, R), Terry Brown (#43, FJ from Terry McAulay’s crew)
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)

18 thoughts on “Live blog: Ravens at Patriots (2011)

  1. The non-intentional grounding call… The ball did not reach the line of scrimmage, not by any view on my box

  2. Jenna, I rewound my dvr, and watched the play again. You should do the same if you can. The ball bounced right on the blue line. While the line is not official, it does look like it’s lined up with the down marker and the line judge or head linesman (I couldn’t tell which it was).

  3. Why was PI not called on the play before the field goal? Sure looked like the db had a hold of the recivers jersey

  4. “The ball was knocked out by Sterling Moore just prior to Evans’ second foot came down.” And then, “A still frame of the foot being down doesn’t finish that catch immediately.”

    That’s moving the goal posts a bit, isn’t it? I don’t think it would’ve been overturned but was amazed it wasn’t reviewed.

    “Why was PI not called on the play before the field goal?”

    There was all sorts of holding/contact-past-5-yards on that play as well as that, but teams always get away with murder at the end of the game. I’m a Ravens fan and I’m not surprised or disappointed by that… we’ve won games with rough defense on last-second throws just as often as we’ve lost them.

  5. i’ve replayed that lee evans play several times and i have to say i think it was a catch. he had both feet down and held it for at least a second afterwards. ravens definitely got stiffed on that! not even a review????

  6. I just reviewed the Lee Evans catch again, and it certainly was not one. The ball was knocked out just prior to his second foot’s heel coming down. It was most definitely not at least a second between securing the ball with both feet down, and getting it knocked out.

    You could make the argument that it was close enough to have been reviewed, but as it was inside of two minutes and the booth did not call for one, it means they did not see enough question to even review it.

    Ben explained it well in his post. Besides just having two feet down, the receiver also needs to “have the ability to complete a football move. If the ball is dropped or knocked down there must be some recognizable amount of time possessing the ball after the second foot.”

    As for the following play, NE FS Sterling Moore did grab the jersey or BAL TE Dennis Pitta, but this did not alter Pitta’s route, nor prevent him from attempting the catch. Had Moore tugged on the jersey and changed Pitta’s direction, rather than just having some of it in his grasp, it would’ve been an easy call. If officials threw a flag every time this exact play happened, so many pass plays would be penalized that we’d all be asking the officials to lay off and let them play.

  7. You are never, ever going to get a pass interference on that kind of play unless you absolutely maul someone. Especially in a conference championship game.

  8. I generally like it when they keep the flag in their pocket but there has to be some consistency. If it is a foul in the first minute, it’s a foul in the last minute. I’ve seen plenty of phantom PI calls too. This one clearly could have gone either way. And what is up with CBS not even mentioning it or showing a replay?

  9. @Zach … some variation here as we have two people typing and we are not in the same room. I was already responding to the argument that he might have held the ball for an infinitesimal amount of time after the second foot, and I was trying to head that argument off at the pass.

    I didn’t see if it was or not, but I was covering it as a moot point, while dilly was saying the ball wasn’t there at all prior to the second foot.

  10. 3rd Qtr | 3:48. Pats game on the Ravens TD why was there no face mask call – he grabbed the face mask about the 9 yd line and never let go

  11. as soon as i saw the play i knew they got it wrong i ran the play over 50 times both feet were down and he had the ball for 2.3 seconds with full cvontrol im a patriots fan but; hey….. lets get it right the ravens had the score!!!

  12. It is legal for a ball carrier to stiff arm an opponent in the facemask, but they cannot twist or pull it. For a few steps, he has a stiff arm, but it looks like his hand gets tangled in the facemask, and there is some twisting to get the hand back.

    This call in this specific situation will be missed 100% of the time, and it is because of proper officiating mechanics. Because the ball carrier is headed for the end zone and he is running along the sideline, no official can focus on the facemask. The head linesman is watching the feet. The side judge is staring down the goal line. The back judge, likely in the center-back of the end zone, probably sees the stiff arm, and won’t see twisting and pulling from that distance, unless there is a violent movement of the defender’s head. The field judge is stationed on the other side of the field, and is likely watching the goal line and possession of the ball. The line judge is opposite the head linesman, but he is clear across the field, and cannot make that call from that distance.The referee and umpire are still back in the vicinity of the line of scrimmage, and won’t be able to see the defender’s facemask.

    The touchdown and the sideline become priority in this situation. Whether or not it is a facemask (it’s still borderline to me) would never be called in that play. And facemask fouls cannot be called on a replay review, even though the touchdown was under review.

  13. Few steps – he grabs the mask (look at replay again) between 8-9 yd line and doesn’t let it go
    until he hits ground at goal line – hoe can that not be a penalty?. If the object of replay is to insure that the correct call is made, then personal fouls should be able to be assessed on replay – in this case the correct call isn’t in or out of bounds, nor is it td or not td – the correct call is personal foul on the receiver.

  14. I agree there is a grab there. If the play is at the 50-yard line in the middle of the field, does that get called? More likely. It’s not a slam dunk, though, because (1) the official still has to see it and (2) the ball carrier is given a lot of leeway to stiff-arm to the facemask, as long as there is no yanking or twisting of the grille.

    The object of replay is more accurately characterized as “confirming the call on the field.” That philosophy is important, because it helps set the framework for the rules of what is and is not reviewable.

    Only one penalty can be called in replay, and that is 12 men on the field. In isolated other circumstances, there can be a penalty, but it is only because it relates to the boundary and end zone line, which are reviewable criteria. Even if Riveron felt there was a facemask, he cannot even comment on it, because it is not reviewable.

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