Football Zebras™

Live blog: Bengals at Texans

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We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Bengals-Texans game. (If you see continue reading below, click it to see the entire feed.)

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. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.

Ben Austro
Mon Oct 17 • 12:17 am EDT

Colts at Texans (video)

This T.Y. Hilton reception skipped off the turf before he caught it. The replay official caught it, and it was overturned in review.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 6:18 pm EDT

Cowboys at Packers

img_20161016_180405502.jpgWith 2:40 remaining in the second quarter, umpire Fred Bryan was correctly holding up the snap until the Cowboys had a chance to match up with the Packers subs. The Cowboys had 12 on the field, but this is not up to the officials to extend the substitution period, since they were afforded reasonable time to complete the substitutions. While the 12th player ran to the sideline, a Cowboys linebacker panicked and signaled timeout, but the Cowboys were out of timeouts.

Unfortunately, the timeout was inadvertently granted, which referee Brad Allen owned the fact that he made the error in his announcement. This is part of the basic bookkeeping of the game that officials must be aware of.

This was the first use of a new rule, which makes an improperly called timeout a delay of game foul, but only if the official erroneously grants the timeout. Packers fans are rightly upset that they should have had a “free play,” in that the 12-man foul would have been a live-ball foul. (Only if the 12th man remained in formation would this be a snap-killing foul.) And officials should be upset that this rule exists in the first place, because it is only enforced upon their error.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 5:56 pm EDT

Cowboys at Packers (video)

Back judge Shawn Hochuli correctly rules a Jordy Nelson catch and fumble.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 5:50 pm EDT

Browns at Titans (video)

In high school and college, this is an illegal blind side block. But in the NFL, this is nothing because the blockee was not defenseless and contact was shoulder to chest. If the blocker lead with his head or contacted the helmet, it would have been a flag. (Also, blocks below the knee are prohibited in these circumstances.) This was penalized, although there was no illegal contact; the flag likely drawn on the basis of the head movement.

I predict we will see the NFL adopt the illegal blind side block rule in the future.

h/t Matt McCombs

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 5:44 pm EDT

Ravens at Giants (video)

Tavon Young picks off Eli Manning. On this play the Giants wanted a pass interference call on Young. We see the field judge reaching for his flag, but it is ruled incidental contact. 

On replay, while Young had his arm around the receiver’s waist, it did not appear that the receiver was held up running his route. 

This is close, but it looks like a good incidental contact call.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 5:13 pm EDT

Bengals at Patriots (video)

Ron Torbert’s crew didn’t put up with any nonsense today. Rob Gronkowski got into a verbal altercation that threatened to get physical on two successive plays. When Gronk started barking at the Bengals’ sideline, field judge Aaron Santi threw a much-deserved unsportsmanlike conduct flag on the Patriots’ tight end.

This got Gronk one foot out of the ball game. If he had received another unsportsmanlike conduct foul, he would have been ejected.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 5:04 pm EDT

Ravens at Giants (video)

Odell Beckham Jr. scores a go-ahead touchdown late in the game. The officials called Beckham for a penalty for removing his helmet in the end zone. This was probably their easiest call of the game.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 4:59 pm EDT

Panthers at Saints (video)

Cam Newton races to the pylon stretches the ball over the plane and is properly awarded a touchdown by line judge Byron Boston. Boston properly backed up as far as he could, to get a wide perspective of the play.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 4:50 pm EDT

Bengals at Patriots (video)

LeGarrette Blount scores a touchdown. Then he comes out of the pile mixing it up with some Bengals players. Ron Torbert’s crew quickly restores order and flags Blount for a personal foul. 

For a second, I thought an official signaled Blount was ejected, but Torbert didn’t announce that Blount was banished.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 4:43 pm EDT

Cowboys at Packers

Cole Beasley catches a touchdown pass. Beasley caught the ball around the three yard line facing parallel to the goal line, turned and dove to the goal line. The ball broke the plane, but when Beasley landed in the end zone, the ball popped out.

Referee Brad Allen reviewed the play. Mike Pereira speculated that the call could be overturned because the catch didn’t survive going to the ground. Allen announced that the ruling on the field “stands” meaning there was no indisputable evidence to overturn the touchdown call on the field.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 4:39 pm EDT

Philadelphia at Washington (video)

Eagles tight end Vernon Davis scores a touchdown and tosses the ball through the goal posts. Davis was flagged for a celebration foul for using the ball and the goalposts as a prop.

This was not a celebration foul until recently. When Jimmy Graham, then of the Saints in 2014, dunked the ball over the goalposts, it caused the posts to be tilted off its axis. In the ensuing offseason, it was decided that the goalposts would be considered a prop in a celebration, under the existing rules that flag actions such as the use of the pylon as a mock golf putter.

While the slam dunk was rendered illegal, I guess this would have to include the fadeaway jumper as well. I’m not a fan of this — the dunk penalty obviously had its purpose, as the goalposts are not built for hanging on — and I’m not aware of a similar foul being assessed. This must have been an action that was discussed with the officials at the clinic when the rule changed.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 16 • 4:28 pm EDT

49ers at Bills (video)

The 49ers fumble the ball away and the officials go into fumble scrum mechanics. Bill Schuster and Ed Walker are first to the pile and they dig for the ball. Later, Dino Paganelli and Bob Waggoner arrive at the pile to make sure players off the pile stay off the pile. Then referee Gene Steratore signals possession. Finally, Paganelli and Waggoner snuff out a pushing and shoving match while Schuster gets up off the ground. This is good crew mechanics.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 3:05 pm EDT

Panthers at Saints (video)

Saints receiver Brandin Cooks said that he would continue his bow-and-arrow celebration after Washington safety Josh Norman was flagged for a similar gesture two weeks ago. SVP/officiating Dean Blandino released a video which explained this was under the use of violent allusions/weaponry and is covered under the celebration fouls.

Cooks apparently was gun shy — sorry, that’s 15 yards on me — and pulled the imaginary arrow out of his pretend quiver but didn’t fake shoot it. He took a knee and held his hands skyward. While going to the ground in celebration is illegal, prayerful gestures are allowed, for obvious reasons. So, Cooks does not draw a celebration foul due to special dispensation.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 2:27 pm EDT

Philadelphia at Washington (video)

Running back Robert Kelley ripped off a 45-yard run for Washington, and a flag comes in at the conclusion of the run for a horse-collar tackle. After a conference, the flag was picked up, as Eagles safety Rodney McLeod pulled Kelley down by his hair, which is legal. Although there is a grab from the top of the shoulder pads initially, which is in the horse-collar region, there is no downward pull by McLeod while gripping there. Tackling by the hair, however, is perfectly legal.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 1:50 pm EDT

Ravens at Giants (video)

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught a pass and fumbled it away immediately deep in Giants territory. This was reviewed to see if Beckham had completed the process of the catch. When Beckham turns up field, he starts to bobble control of the ball, but this seemed to be clearly after the catch process was complete. Although the replay result didn’t have an impact on the call, replay punted in this case, opting to go with “stands” over “confirmed.”

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 16 • 12:00 pm EDT

Today’s officials


  • U 124 Carl Paganelli* to Parry’s crew (PHI-WAS)
  • LJ 90 Mike Spanier* to Hochuli’s crew (PIT-MIA)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Blakeman’s crew (JAX-CHI)
  • SJ 89 Jon Lucivansky* to Torbert’s crew (CIN-NE)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.

      Yr. Crew College Occupation
R 57 Alberto Riveron 9   Miami sales, commercial restaurant equipment
U 11 Fred Bryan 4 Corrente Northern Iowa superintendent, juvenile correctional facility
HL 48 Jim Mello 9 Riveron Northeastern facilities manager
LJ 108 Gary Arthur 16 Winter Wright State president, commercial printing company
FJ 33 Steve Zimmer 16 Riveron Hofstra attorney
SJ 58 Jimmy DeBell 4 Riveron SUNY-Brockport high school teacher
BJ 12 Greg Steed 10 Winter Howard computer systems analyst

7 comments for “Live blog: Bengals at Texans

  1. C.J.
    January 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Solid game for the stripes through three quarters.

  2. Ben Austro
    January 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Seem to be the only team that’s playing today.

  3. Ron Dwornik
    January 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

    About the Texans challenging the forward pass ruling in the 3rd quarter contending that it was a fumble. I don’t remember which team, if any, actually went after the ball but I do remember seeing a referee blowing his whistle and waving his arms as if to signal that the play was over. IF the play had been overturned would the whislte-blowing referee’s action been an issue? Should the Texans had been able to challenge once his whistle had been blown? The correct call was made but what if was later ruled a fumble? Would the Bengals have any recourse if they brought to the attention of the referees that, “Hey, the whistle was blown therefore we did not go after the ball”? Thank you in advance.

  4. Ben Austro
    January 6, 2013 at 11:50 am

    The rule was changed in 2009 that, if there is a clear and immediate recovery, the whistle can be disregarded for the recovery. The recovery must be seen by replay — there cannot be a scrum for the ball. This was worked in to the rulebook after Ed Hochuli’s terribly unfortunate inadvertent whistle on an incomplete pass that should have been a fumble recovery.

    No matter if the whistle actually blew or not, an incomplete pass that is reversed to a fumble can only give the recovering team the ball at the point of recovery. There cannot be any runback allowed.

    The Texans did recover the ball immediately, so if Dalton was ruled to have an empty hand while passing in replay (i.e., fumble), the Texans would have been awarded possession at the point of recovery.

  5. jimmy76
    January 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    What of the block in the back on Peko during one of the texans screen plays . The amount of times that Geno Atkins got held too,sure hope he got his wallet back after the muggings he took.