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CallsQuick calls: Week 6

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.

Ben Austro
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.

Mark Schultz
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.

Rich Madrid
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. 

Mark Schultz
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.

Mark Schultz
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.

Ben Austro
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.

Patrick Weber
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.)

Ben Austro
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.

Patrick Weber
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.

Ben Austro
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.

Cameron Filipe
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.

Rich Madrid
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. 

Ben Austro
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)

 

Ben Austro
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.

Ben Austro
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)
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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14 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 6

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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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: http://www.footballzebras.com/2011/11/27/2223/

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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 NFL.com 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.

  10. 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.

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