The euphoria of the regular referees returning to the field has worn off. As we return to the first ordinary weekend of the year, we are going to list some of the calls and rules interpretations here. If you see something in one of the games, post a comment on this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.
Chargers at Saints
A roughing-the-passer penalty wiped out a key Chargers interception returned for a touchdown. It was clearly a helmet-to-helmet hit as Saints quarterback Drew Brees released the ball, making him a defenseless player. The penalty gave the Saints a first down, sustaining a drive that ended in a touchdown. A very costly penalty: 15 yards on the field, 14 points on the scoreboard, and to seal the deal, a ,000 fine is on the way.
The crew called a tight offensive pass interference on the final Chargers drive, where the receiver seemed to gently push without gaining leverage. Because the defender went down after the push, the penalty was called.
Titans at Vikings (video)
Vikings safety Harrison Smith was ejected for shoving an official. The official (probably back judge Steve Freeman) was attempting to move Smith away from a potential altercation, and Smith pushed back. The CBS crew, puzzlingly, opted to not show the actual infraction, so the video shows very little, really; at the end of the video you can see the moment prior to Smith’s push back.
This entry was updated.
Broncos at Patriots (video)
Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas catches a pass and immediately fumbles the ball. Patriots were committed a block on the runback. Two questions:
- Was the process of the catch completed?
- Was the block by the Patriots an illegal blindside block?
The process of the catch was completed, as Thomas turned upfield prior to the fumble. As for the blindside, the Broncos player was turned into the direction of the blindside block, and thus he is not a defenseless player (see the definition of defenseless player). While originally flagged, Gene Steratore and his crew conferred and picked up the flag.
Eagles at Steelers (video)
Steelers Ryan Clark gives BJ Greg Wilson earful for late hit. Lucky he was not dinged for another 15.
Dolphins at Bengals (video)
Bengals recover a muffed punt on the boundary line. Did he establish possession before his shoulder hit the white paint? Walt Coleman says inconclusive, upholding tight call by Greg Gautreaux (#80) on the recovery (not to mention his muffed punt call as well).
Eagles at Steelers
1st Qtr 7:06: Eagles QB Michael Vick dove forward, then lost the ball. The ruling on the field was a fumble, which would be the correct call if Vick was not touched. Had he slid feet first, he would’ve been down without any contact. However, it appeared that Steelers LB Larry Foote got his foot tangled with Vick’s leg before the ball came out. This was confirmed upon review, overturning the call on the field.