Football Zebras
CallsLive blog: 49ers at Falcons

Live blog: 49ers at Falcons

2012 NFC Championship

NFC champWe will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the 49ers-Falcons 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 Terry McAulay. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.

Ben Austro
Mon Sep 18 • 1:01 am EDT

Packers at Falcons

After a Falcons touchdown, Packers coach Mike McCarthy was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct foul for arguing with back judge Greg Wilson. McCarthy was on the field during the break, and vociferously arguing his case, with side judge Laird Hayes attempting an insert-and-separate maneuver. McCarthy launched some closing verbal salvo that must have crossed a line, and a visibly disgusted Wilson dropped a flag.

Under a new provision in the rule, a coach is now subject to ejection upon 2 unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in certain categories. Apparently, McCarthy is the first coach to receive a penalty under this 2-step ejection rule, and was able to avoid disqualification. No coach in the 98-year history of the NFL has been ejected.

The play McCarthy was arguing about was a flag thrown by Wilson on the previous Packers possession. An offensive pass interference flag came from Wilson — about 40 yards deep — for an infraction near the line of scrimmage. There was a question as to whether it was within the one-yard zone of legal contact — something that can be hard to detect from a deep position — and if the contact was an inadvertent collision, which is not a penalty. McCarthy does have a point, in that it would have been best for no flag at all. (He also contended that the Falcons should have been similarly flagged for offensive pass interference on the succeeding possession.) However, to chew out the official two possessions later was not only fruitless, but also put him near the wrong side of the history books.

Ben Austro
Mon Sep 18 • 12:36 am EDT

Packers at Falcons (video)

On a 33-yard touchdown by Packers, receiver Devante Adams touches the pylon with his foot as he goes into the end zone. The pylon does not put a player out of bounds; he must step on the sideline to be ruled out. Contrast this to a loose ball that touches the pylon, which is ruled to be out of bounds in the end zone.

This is consistent with a player out of bounds touching another player — the in-bounds player is not suddenly out of bounds. However, if a loose ball in the field of play touches an out-of-bounds player, the ball is dead and out of bounds.

Incidentally, this is different in the NCAA rulebook; the pylon does place a player out of bounds. It would be an incomplete still be a complete pass in college, since the receiver had not gotten his second foot down yet after the catch only has to get one foot down in bounds (sorry, late-night editing). If the first foot touches the pylon, then it is incomplete.

Ben Austro
Mon Sep 18 • 12:27 am EDT

Packers at Falcons

The ruling on the backward pass by Aaron Rodgers that was returned for a touchdown is a separate post.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 8:24 pm EDT

Washington at Rams (video)

Several several things to unpack in this video.

Again, hurdling is legal in the NFL. If Todd Gurley tried this Friday night, he’d get a flag.

Good sideline communication between field judge Eugene Hall and rookie line judge Mike Carr. Before going up with the touchdown signal, Hall checked to make sure Carr didn’t have Gurley step out of bounds. 

Finally, Hall shows that officials don’t have to have a whistle on every play. Everyone knew the play was over and he didn’t need to sound his whistle. He didn’t even have the whistle in his mouth.

Good work by Carr and Hall.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 8:08 pm EDT

Jets at Raiders (video)

The Raiders recover a muffed punt. The receiver gave a fair catch but then had the ball bounce off of him. Side judge Terry Brown was on the sideline and made the call. 

Sometimes an official will be quick on the whistle when a receiver signals fair catch to protect the receiver from being hit. Brown had good discipline to hold the whistle

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 7:52 pm EDT

Vikings at Steelers (video)

Dalvin Cook had a touchdown for a few moments. Side judge Boris Cheek gave Cook a touchdown, but instant replay ruled him short. Cheek would have had a hard time seeing Cook’s knee down since the Steelers’ defender was on the ground, screening Cheek from a good look.

Cheek was in proper position. That’s what replay is for.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 7:46 pm EDT

49ers at Seahawks (video)

Another own-fumble recovery by the defensive squad, this time by the Seahawks. The covering official at the fumble spot was not near the interception spot, so he still had a bean bag to mark the play.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 7:46 pm EDT

Eagles at Chiefs (video)

With seven seconds left, the Eagles try an onside kick and recover it. The ball had properly gone 10-yards, but an Eagles’ player touched the ball knocking it forward, and he then fell on it. Is this illegal batting?

In the judgement of the officials, the player didn’t bat the ball. They ruled he muffed the ball in a bona fide attempt to recover the kick. 

It’s a judgement call, but it looks like the officials got it right by ruling muff.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 7:37 pm EDT

Eagles at Chiefs (video)

Travis Kelce hurdles Eagles defenders for a touchdown. High school rules forbid hurdling for safety reasons. I’m somewhat surprised the NFL still allows hurdling.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 7:19 pm EDT

Browns at Ravens (video)

Defensive lineman Trevon Coley recovers a fumble for the Browns, and then he fumbles during the return, recovered by his fellow lineman Nate Orchard. The spot of the first fumble is marked by a beanbag, and two hats fly in to mark the second fumble. When there are multiple changes of possession on a play, it is possible for a penalty to be enforced or offset at the last change spot.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 17 • 5:24 pm EDT

Bears at Buccaneers (video)

The Buccaneers’ Mike Evans makes a nice toe-tapping catch for a TD. Side judge Scott Edwards with a good eye to award the six points.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 5:07 pm EDT

Cowboys at Broncos (photo)

Scattered thunderstorms in the area trigger a weather delay with 0:33 on the clock in the 1st quarter.

A league executive is assigned to be the on-site representative for Football Operations. That point person will communicate with the weather service and the commissioner to make a decision on when to resume play.

The game resumed after a 62-minute delay.

Patrick Weber
Sun Sep 17 • 4:58 pm EDT

Eagles at Chiefs (video)

Late in the third quarter, a reception by Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffrey made a catch as he was going to the ground, landing at the 1-yard line and sliding into the endzone. Jeffrey was initially ruled down at the one, but after the Eagles challenged the call it was reversed to a touchdown because Jeffrey was never touched by a defender after possessing the ball and prior to the ball crossing the goal line. 

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 3:56 pm EDT

Vikings at Steelers (video)

The Steelers are happy to have the rules relaxed for group celebrations, but they still were penalized after receiver Martavis Bryant scored a touchdown.

Bryant was seen motioning his teammates over to break out into a pantomimed game of back-alley dice. However, once the field judge drops the touchdown signal, the play clock is runs. Since the Steelers were opting for a two-point conversion, it would have been an 8 the hard way, because the delay of game foul craps on their conversion attempt, drawing snake eyes from coach Mike Tomlin, who will likely institute a new team rule.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 3:19 pm EDT

Cardinals at Colts

Both coaches have challenged calls on the first-down line, and both calls were upheld. The Colts challenged a short spot that was confirmed, and the Cardinals challenge of a first down did not have conclusive evidence to overturn. First-down spots are particularly tricky to win in replay without some other action like a player stepping out of bounds.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 2:35 pm EDT

Bills at Panthers

Side judge James Coleman collided with someone on the Bills bench while working down the sideline.

Because officials must watch the play and not where they are going, it is imperative to keep the sidelines clear. The entire width of the 6-foot border is the officials’ and chain crew’s area only. If someone encroaches into this area, an official can tell the team’s designated “get back” coach to corral everyone, and flag on subsequent violations. However, sideline interference can be called without a warning if there is contact or if the official is significantly impeded.

Coleman was taken to the locker room for evaluation, and it is possible he is in the concussion protocol that players are subjected to.

The crew has adjusted to 6-person mechanics. Basically, each crew decides how it will handle the vacancy, either leave the position open and adjacent officials would cover or shift 1 or 2 officials to new positions. In many cases, crews will opt to keep the back judge position empty. Walt Coleman’s crew has left the side judge slot open with the back judge and down judge covering. The broadcast crew stated that James Coleman won’t return to the game.

There are no alternate officials in the regular season.

Cameron Filipe
Sun Sep 17 • 2:02 pm EDT

Patriots at Saints (video)

A flag for offensive pass interference was thrown on a New England touchdown play. Referee Craig Wrolstad picked up the flag following a conference, however, stating that the foul occurred at the line of scrimmage. This is the classic pick play. Patriots’ receiver Brandin Cooks blocked a Saints’ defender in order to free up receiver Chris Hogan. Back judge Lee Dyer threw the flag for the seemingly illegal act, but the contact took place one yard beyond the line of scrimmage Rule 8-5-4 states that “blocking more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage by an offensive player prior to a pass being thrown is offensive pass interference.” Since the contact occurred only one yard in front of the line, there is no foul. The flag was correctly picked up and New England was awarded the touchdown.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 1:35 pm EDT

Cardinals at Colts

Cardinals defensive lineman Rodney Gunter was flagged for leverage on a Colts field goal attempt. Leverage prohibits a player from gaining height from an opponent or teammate. The contact does not appear to be much, but only incidental contact (not pushing down on the player) would be waived off.

The Colts took the points off the board and got an automatic first down with the penalty, but ultimately kicked another field goal.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 17 • 12:53 pm EDT

Today’s officials

Week 2 referee assignments

2017 officiating crews

Substitutions

  • U64 Dan Ferrell to McAulay’s crew (PHI-KC)
  • U129 Bill Schuster to Coleman’s crew (BUF-CAR)
  • DJ37 Jim Howey to Cheffers’ crew (AZ-IND)
  • LJ68 Tom Stephan to Corrente’s crew (MIA-LAC)
  • FJ15 Rick Patterson to Boger’s crew (WAS-LAR)

(All substitutions are swing officials that are assigned to different crews each week)

      Yr. Crew College Occupation
R 77 Terry McAulay 15 McAulay Louisiana State college officiating coordinator for Big East
U 124 Carl Paganelli 14 Winter Michigan State federal probation officer
HL 106 Wayne Mackie 6 Steratore Colgate director of housing
LJ 68 Tom Stephan 14 Boger Pittsburg State president and CEO
FJ 60 Gary Cavaletto 10 Corrente Hancock general manager, agricultural operations
SJ 56 Allen Baynes 5 Corrente Auburn realtor
BJ 112 Tony Steratore 13 Boger California (Pa.) co-owner, supply company
  • Alternates: Carl Cheffers (upfield), Greg Bradley (line), Mike Weir (deep)
  • Replay official: Earnie Frantz
  • Replay assistant: Brian Matoren
  • Supervisor: Ed Coukart
  • Observer: Jim Duke

13 thoughts on “Live blog: 49ers at Falcons

  1. Just noticed, the “Start of Drive”marker ( the X ) is in the aux line to gain spot… Have the changed it?

  2. The roughing call on LB Nicholas for Brushing Kaepernick’s face mask was a little petty. It should
    have been a non call. Many more non call infractios are far worse than this silly call.

  3. Yes you are allowed to touch within 5 yards but that was a hold all day every day a the personal foul on the falcons for hitting the face mask of colin kaepernick was bs he was in the act of throwing at the same time defender was leaping to deflect the pass how are you able to bat down a ball if. U can’t do such a thing nfl needs to have better refs there were no refs in the back when white got held

  4. Every human being tuned into this game saw ridiculous calls against Falcons.
    It is a hold all day everyday by SF against White on 4thdown and refs, as they all do, get scared
    and swallow their whistles. Where are replacement refs when you need them. Contact is one thing but riding the receiver like a rented mule is OK?

    No one believes the roughing passer was forcible for chrissakes. McAulay did that for theCommissioner as directed. Inadvertent, non threatening touching is simply not a penalty.

    Falcons in Super Bowl if one or both of these calls are made correctly.

  5. The penalty against the Falcons at 2:50 in the 2nd Qtr was Personal Foul Unnecessary roughness not Unsportsmanlike conduct.
    A USC is a non contact foul whereas a P.F. involves contact. It is important as 2 USC’s are automatic disqualification unlike a Personal Foul theoretically you could do all day unless it is a flagrant personal foul like Targeting which could result in immediate DSQ.

  6. The roughing face mask brush on Kaepernick was called by the ref behind the play. They said the
    Play was “justified”. This does not mean it was the right call. It would have been more “justified”
    and correct as a non call. Winning and losing comes down to 4 or 5 plays in a game. You would hope that those 4 or 5 plays resulted from the player and not the ref. Maybe instant replay to review officiating poor judgement is “Justified”.

  7. The roughing call on LB Nicholas for Brushing Kaepernick’s face mask was a turning point in the game. The Falcons had stopped the 9ers drive & without this call the ball goes back to the Falcons. Kaepernick was not moved at all by the contact. It was a bad call, refs but not even mentioned in the recap above. Winning and losing comes down to 4 or 5 plays in a game. You would hope that those 4 or 5 plays resulted from the player and not the ref.

  8. Quoting Tony:

    The penalty against the Falcons at 2:50 in the 2nd Qtr was Personal Foul Unnecessary roughness not Unsportsmanlike conduct.

    You are correct. I was entering that into the live blog too fast, and I got my un- fouls mixed up. Post corrected.

    It is important as 2 USC’s are automatic disqualification unlike a Personal Foul

    In the NFL, there is no automatic disqualification rule. Although, at the officals’ discretion, any USC can result in the thumb, particularly if there is a flagrant repeat violation after a warning.

  9. Thanks for clearing that up Ben, I don’t want to learn too many NFL rules as we only use NCAA in Australia and it gets too confusing if you have more than one set and there are quite a few differences I believe. No wonder coaches get mixed up between Friday night, Saturday & Sunday.

    I have only seen it once while watching the game live and at the time I felt the RTP call on Nicholas against Kapernick was not worth a flag.

    So I agree with the sentiments above about the call but it was not a game changing call. There where quite a few instances where the line officials where not calling ineligible receiver downfield on a few Falcons pass plays – of is it not a requirement in NFL that the inside receiver should not be covered ?

  10. Mike says:
    January 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    • 0 0

    Just noticed, the “Start of Drive”marker ( the X ) is in the aux line to gain spot… Have the changed it?

    JP says:
    January 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm
    • 6 0

    The roughing call on LB Nicholas for Brushing Kaepernick’s face mask was a little petty. It should
    have been a non call. Many more non call infractios are far worse than this silly call.

    falcons get screwed again by refs in big games says:
    January 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm
    • 4 1

    Yes you are allowed to touch within 5 yards but that was a hold all day every day a the personal foul on the falcons for hitting the face mask of colin kaepernick was bs he was in the act of throwing at the same time defender was leaping to deflect the pass how are you able to bat down a ball if. U can’t do such a thing nfl needs to have better refs there were no refs in the back when white got held

    Billy Walker says:
    January 21, 2013 at 5:14 am
    • 2 2

    Every human being tuned into this game saw ridiculous calls against Falcons.
    It is a hold all day everyday by SF against White on 4thdown and refs, as they all do, get scared
    and swallow their whistles. Where are replacement refs when you need them. Contact is one thing but riding the receiver like a rented mule is OK?

    No one believes the roughing passer was forcible for chrissakes. McAulay did that for theCommissioner as directed. Inadvertent, non threatening touching is simply not a penalty.

    Falcons in Super Bowl if one or both of these calls are made correctly.

    Tony says:
    January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am
    • 0 0

    The penalty against the Falcons at 2:50 in the 2nd Qtr was Personal Foul Unnecessary roughness not Unsportsmanlike conduct.
    A USC is a non contact foul whereas a P.F. involves contact. It is important as 2 USC’s are automatic disqualification unlike a Personal Foul theoretically you could do all day unless it is a flagrant personal foul like Targeting which could result in immediate DSQ.

    JP says:
    January 21, 2013 at 11:13 am
    • 1 0

    The roughing face mask brush on Kaepernick was called by the ref behind the play. They said the
    Play was “justified”. This does not mean it was the right call. It would have been more “justified”
    and correct as a non call. Winning and losing comes down to 4 or 5 plays in a game. You would hope that those 4 or 5 plays resulted from the player and not the ref. Maybe instant replay to review officiating poor judgement is “Justified”.

    PWest says:
    January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    • 0 0

    Tony:
    You said: Just noticed the RTP call is not mentioned in the story?

    But it was mentioned by me. See Below:

    The roughing call on LB Nicholas for Brushing Kaepernick’s face mask was a turning point in the game. The Falcons had stopped the 9ers drive & without this call the ball goes back to the Falcons. Kaepernick was not moved at all by the contact. It was a bad call, refs but not even mentioned in the recap above. Winning and losing comes down to 4 or 5 plays in a game. You would hope that those 4 or 5 plays resulted from the player and not the ref.

  11. The roughing-the-passer rule is by the book. There is a recognition that, during the normal course of play, the quarterback is going to have incidental hits to the head.

    However, there is a recognition that the quarterback should not be subject to a cheap head slap by an onrushing defender just because he couldn’t control his arms. This was typically seen that a defensive lineman “sends a message” to the quarterback on a near-sack by slapping the quarterback’s head. So, the Competition Committee issued a point of emphasis for referees to watch the quarterback’s head for unnecessary head contact.

    In this case, the defender had his hands up at “12 o’clock” and chopped down and contacted the quarterback’s helmet. Because of the blow was a forcible blow, and not simply brushing the helmet, this was a textbook foul, and Terry McAulay did not hesitate in throwing a flag.

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