Football Zebras
CallsQuick calls: Week 16

Quick calls: Week 16

week16You can follow our coverage on Twitter, and we will also post here some notable calls and describe some of the complicated rulings of the weekend.

If you see something interesting, confusing, or controversial in this week’s games, let’s us know by giving us the quarter and time (if known) and what happened in the comments section below or tweet us.

Some of the more interesting calls we will pose to the Football Zebras Roundtable for expert analysis during the week.

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)

11 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 16

  1. IND at KC end of 2nd quarter, booth review of incomplete pass should have resulted in a catch & fumble, but official ruled the call stands.

  2. Patriots at Ravens 8:22 2nd quarter, Ron winter and crew call defensive holding. AFTER announcing the penalty the officials gather to discuss the call then pick up the flag. Aren’t they supposed to sort everything out before making the announcement?

  3. 4th quarter cowboys-redskins. Defensive player for redskins takes off helmet, official throws flag then announces it is a non foul. I’m confused on that one.

  4. Patriots at Ravens 11:41 in 4th. Again the officials call a penalty and then change their mind after making the announcement. This time Ravens 74 (Oher) was called for false start and play blown dead. After making the announcement Ron Winter and crew confer and decide the patriots defensive player jumped first.

  5. Bears would have been shut out in the first half but for a wrong spot (and therefore incorrect 1st down) at the very end…

  6. Why is no one talking about Manning’s record tying pass to Decker? He bobbled the ball twice and didn’t get 1 foot in bounds once he fully possessed the ball. I figured there would be outrage over it … I’ve found nothing. Because it was a scoring play it had to be reviewed and it stood. I saw one bobble in live speed so how did they miss it in replay???

  7. Brutal officiating in Packer/ Steeler game.

    The Steelers clearly possessed the ball when they ball was pitched back.

    On the false start penalty on the last drive, why did they not reset the clock to 24 seconds when the whistle blew and then take the 10 seconds run-off? Effectively, they let the play run out and then took the 10 seconds. On a false start, shouldn’t the clock have been reset to the time of the penalty?

  8. Cowboys/Redskins 3rd and goal near end of game:
    After the Murray loss, ball was spotted at the 10 instead of the 12 where he went down. 2 yards on 4th and Goal is huge. Spot of the ball is not reviewable since it was not relative to first down or goal line.

    Same play, officials picked up a flag for defender removing his helmet. Murray was down at 1:45 and clock stopped at 1:42 for penalty discussion. Cowboys timeout/4th down should have been at 1:05 after 40 second play clock. Instead Dallas was only given a 25 second play clock and took timeout at 1:16.

    Per Rule 4 Section 5 Article 5, the play clock should have been stopped for officials conference and then resumed where it was (not reset to 25). Net result is Redskins gain 11 seconds for their final drive.

  9. I agree with Marks’s comment on Eric Decker’s reception of Manning’s 50th TD pass. I’ve been wondering the same thing. How was it, that Hochuli let the play stand as called? The non-reversal was one of the most blatantly bad calls of the day.

  10. I agree with Brian, the helmet coming off distracted the refs and the ball was spotted egregiously at the 10 instead of the 12 or thirteen in the Redskins Cowboys big play. Murray only got in to the end zone by 1 yard. Huge play and no announcer or sports outlet has mentioned it. Any comment zebras?

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