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
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)
      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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