Football Zebras™

Quick calls: Week 6

We will update this post with some of the calls we see in today’s games. Did you see something or have a question on a rules interpretation? Use the comment section of this post or tweet us @footballzebras.

The big news today is that Bill Vinovich returns to the field as referee for the first time since 2006. You can see the remaining assignments here.

Tue • 1:32 am EST • Ben Austro

Patriots at Seahawks (video)

Back to Sunday, now that there is video posted of this play.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady unloads a pass in the back of the end zone with one second remaining in the first half. While the Patriots get ready for a field goal attempt, referee Clete Blakeman consulted his crew and penalized Brady for intentional grounding. There are three elements to intentional grounding: (1) there is no receiver in the area of the pass, (2) the quarterback is under threat of a sack, and (3) the quarterback is inside the “tackle box” (an imaginary box behind where the five offensive lineman were lined up at the snap).

An intentional grounding penalty inside 1 minute of the half is illegally conserving time, and a 10-second runoff is assessed. If less than 10 seconds are on the clock, the half ends. However, if the Patriots had a timeout remaining, they would be allowed to use the timeout to counter the 10-second runoff.

This happened at the end of last season where Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie took a snap, and after delaying to consider his options, spiked the ball to stop the clock. Because the spike did not happen immediately, it was ruled intentional grounding, and the 10-second runoff ended the game right there.

Tue • 12:54 am EST • Ben Austro

Broncos at Chargers (video)

From the first quarter, the Broncos muffed a punt when a fair catch is called. If it is touched first by the receiving team, it is a live ball. There is no “halo rule” in the NFL that allows a player signaling a fair catch to have a 5-yard buffer zone. Even though the Chargers coverage is right in his face, there was no interference with the opportunity to make the fair catch, so no penalty.

Mon • 10:28 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Broncos at Chargers (video)

Jim Leonhard overcomes pass interference against him (not called) to pick off Peyton Manning.  Leonhard is then flagged for delay of game for spiking the ball in the field of play.  It is against the rules to spike the ball in the field of play, which forces an official to chase the ball down.  The player is either supposed to hand the ball to the official or lay it on the ground.

Mon • 9:33 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Broncos at Chargers

Another false start on Rivers.  This time a head bob and not as pronounced as the hand thrust.  That is Triplette’s call all the way and he’s not afraid of making it.

Mon • 9:14 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Broncos at Chargers

4:38, first quarter.  Great false start call by Triplette.  Chargers QB, Phillip Rivers, gestured with his hands calling for the ball.  He was in shotgun formation.  This hand gesture, a point of emphasis this year, was correctly called by Triplette.

Mon • 9:09 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Broncos at Chargers

Nice to see side judge Jeff Lamberth back on the field after missing the 2011 season.  Lamberth is a swing (or substitute) official this year.

Sun • 10:59 pm EST • Ben Austro

Lions at Eagles

First game back for Vinovich, and he had to DQ a player. On an extra-point attempt — seriously — defensive lineman Fletcher Cox threw a punch and was ejected from the game.

Sun • 7:04 pm EST • Ben Austro

Giants at 49ers

Because one of the play clocks (25/40-second clock for delay of game) went down during the game, referee John Parry ordered the other play clock turned off. The back judge takes over the duties for timing the play clock when the stadium play clock is inoperative.

Sun • 5:37 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Giants vs. 49ers

The officials wearing black hats are not wearing the pink piping hats for breast cancer awareness month.  As one who is not a fan of the black hats with pink piping (looks like pink icing on a chocolate cake, in my opinion) that suits me just fine. 

Edit: Referee John Parry isn’t wearing his white hat with pink piping either.

Sun • 5:19 pm EST • Ben Austro

Cowboys at Ravens (video)

Late in the fourth quarter, down two points, the Cowboys attempted an onside kick. The ball must go 10 yards before the Cowboys can recover the loose ball, however, once a Ravens player touches the loose ball, the 10-yard requirement is erased, and it is a live ball for either team to recover.

Sun • 5:00 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Bills at Cardinals (video)

Line Judge, Julian Mapp, is wearing number 10 today.  Mapp gave number 52 back to Bill Vinovich who is officiating the Eagles vs. Lions game today.

Sun • 4:04 pm EST • Ben Austro

Chiefs at Buccaneers (video)

On a block of a punt, Buccaneers punter Mike Keonon scoops up and heaves the ball forward only to be intercepted and have a quick touchdown return by the Chiefs. The pass is legal because the punt never crossed the line of scrimmage. However, if an illegal pass is intercepted, the interception counts.

Sun • 2:54 pm EST • Mark Schultz

Rams at Dolphins

Gene Steratore’s crew has really cracked down on illegal use of hands to the face calls.  Four flags for that foul in the first half.

14 comments for “Quick calls: Week 6

  1. Don Nored
    October 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Cowboys Vs Ravens….4th quarter, 24-20 Ravens. Cowboys ball 3rd and goal on the 8 yd line. Pass play….nobody open …Romo sacked and Cowboys kick a field goal. Fox replayed the play to show why Romo had to take the sack. The replay showed Dez Bryant going into the end zone where he was pushed out of bounds by the defender. The Ref was standing right there and thru his hat approx 1 yd line deep in the end zone to indicate where Bryant went out. When describing the play the commentator even stated Bryant was pushed out of bounds. My question: why was that not called “illegal contact” since Bryant was at least 9 yards down field from the line of scrimmage. Could have made a huge difference since Dallas would have had 1st and goal at the 3 or 4 yd line. Not making excuses for the Cowboys….they caused their own down-fall by repeatedly making crucial mistakes.

  2. Mark Schultz
    October 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Was Romo in the pocket? Once the QB is flushed out of the pocket the illegal contact rule is off.

  3. Don Nored
    October 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    He was in the pocket sacked almost directly behind the center approx 5-7 yards deep.

  4. Ben Austro
    October 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I’m sure this game will be replayed this week on NFL Rewind. Hopefully, they leave that part intact. I would like to watch for an evenhanded amount of hand wrangling between both players. Except for very odd occurrences, DPI and OPI are never called as offsetting fouls, so if both are pushing, there is no call.

  5. Mark
    October 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Did the refs blow 2 turnover calls in Miami today? Boh te plays seem to confirm fumbles but the refs overturned them anyway.

  6. Ben Austro
    October 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Didn’t see those calls. But, since the replay official has exclusive domain on challenges, there must have been something.

  7. Joe
    October 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Anyone catch the phantom holding call in the Dolphins-Rams game? It was a weird scenario… It was in the middle of the multiple hands-to-the-face penalties. Steratore was announcing the penalty when Jake Long appeared to walk up to argue him point. Steratore interupted himself mid-announcement to say “Stay back!”

    On the next play, he flagged Long for Holding, although there was none – even the announcers didn’t know what he was talking about. Could it have been a vendetta/revenge call?

  8. Tom
    October 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Seahawks v Patriots: the Intentional Grounding call that ended the first half was incorrect,
    I believe. The Pats QB threw the ball away to save the last few seconds, not to avoid a loss, thus no Intentional Grounding should have been called. What he did was no different than a spike play – thoughts?

  9. Ben Austro
    October 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I didn’t see the intentional grounding, but in order to be equivalent to a legal “spike” to stop the clock, the pass must come immediately after the snap. This happened to the Bears last season, where QB Caleb Hanie delayed when received the snap, and then threw the ball to the turf to stop the clock. Not only was there a penalty, but a 10-second runoff.

    Our coverage of that call:

    From the comments here, it seems as though I should’ve been watching Rams-Dolphins, but who would have thought that?

  10. Ben Austro
    October 16, 2012 at 1:34 am

    OK, I saw the video on the grounding call, and it is absolutely correct. There is now an entry in the post with a video clip

  11. Tom
    October 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Pats v Hawks: Watch the video – the reason there is no receiver in that area is that Deion Branch, who is making the in cut to the middle of the field, is blatantly held by LB KJ Wright,
    you can clearly see the “arm bar” across Branch’s chest as he cuts inside and thus never gets into the area.

  12. Tom
    October 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm
  13. Ben
    October 17, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I don’t see any hold there. It looked like both players ran into each other, and there could have been a moment of restriction by the Seahawks defender. However, the ball was being thrown 3 yards beyond the end line, and this contact was at the 1-yard line, some 14 yards away. So any holding would have no material affect on the play.

    From the looks of it (using the grainy video) the Seahawks linebacker seemed to step into the receiver’s route and grabbed him in the collision. Routes get interrupted like this all the time, and while still frames look like damning evidence, the video must take in the action prior to and immediately after the image.

  14. silver account
    October 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    The quarterback spiking the ball does not result in intentional grounding if once he receives the ball from center, he take one step back and spikes the ball. If the quarterback spikes the ball after attempting to run or drop back to pass, the result of the play is intentional grounding. This results in a 15-yard penalty on the offense and a loss of down. In addition, there will be a 10-second runoff of the game clock if the penalty occurs inside of one minute remaining in the game.