Last year it was a rash of inadvertent whistles. This year the officials are having trouble enforcing penalties. Former NFL vice president for officiating and current Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira says the officials missed two penalty enforcements in two different games on Sunday.
Pereira broke down the play in Minneapolis where Bill Leavy’s crew mis-enforced the new red flag rule penalty during the Browns-Vikings game. This will result in a downgrade for the entire crew as all seven officials are responsible to make sure the penalties are enforced properly.
It also appears that Tony Corrente and his crew made a mistake in the Titans-Chargers game. Quarterback Jake Locker scrambled for a 39-yards which was initially called back on a Chris Johnson chop block. Pereira explains what happened next, saying,
The referee then announced that there was no foul because the play turned into a run. That’s not the rule. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 3 of the NFL rule book states: Each of the above circumstances, which describes a chop block foul on a forward pass play, also applies on a play in which an offensive player indicates an apparent attempt to pass block, but the play ultimately becomes a run.
The chop block should have stood and Locker’s long gain should have been wiped out.
The Bengals and Packers had a strange play that caught Pereira’s attention. There were two fumbles by both teams on the play that eventually turned into the game-winning scoop-and-score for the Bengals (video). The question arose whether the fourth down fumble rule applied, since it was fourth and inches for the Packers. Pereira explains it better than I can. Pereira comments,
However, outside of two minutes in either half, the rule applies only to the offensive team before a change of possession. After the change of possession, the restriction for advancing a fumble does not apply to either team. That’s why the Newman was allowed to advance Nelson’s fumble.
The interesting part of this play, is that if this occurs a couple of minutes later inside of two minutes, the rule applies to both teams before and after any change of possession. Therefore, had this been inside of two minutes, the ball that was recovered by Newman, would have been declared dead and returned to the spot of Nelson’s fumble, the Cincinnati 42-yard line. That means, the winning touchdown would not have been scored on this play.
To top off Pereira’s analysis, he says the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant got away with a push-off on the Cowboys first touchdown. He also says the Bengals’ George Iloka should have been flagged for hitting the Packers Jermichael Finley.
It is always interesting to see officials work their way through a judgment call – correct or not. But, it is hard to see officials miss rules and penalties. Here’s hoping Pereira has nothing but fantastic judgment calls to break down in Week 4