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CallsQuick calls: Week 6

Quick calls: Week 6

Keep checking here for rolling coverage throughout the day on Sunday. If you see anything confusing, unusual, or controversial, please let us know.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 19, 201512:23 am

Patriots at Colts (video)

Linebacker Jamie Collins leaps over the offensive line to block the extra-point attempt. This is not a foul as long as Collins does not land on an opponent or a teammate. He also is allowed to line up adjacent to the snapper because he is not on the line of scrimmage.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 19, 201512:06 am

Patriots at Colts (video)

Head linesman George Heyward eyes the feet on the interception return that threads the sideline.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 201511:35 pm

Patriots at Colts (video)

First-year line judge Bart Longson got clipped in the head inadvertently while there was a substitution between downs. Referee Tony Corrente called a timeout, but Longson remained in the game after evaluation.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 201511:32 pm

Patriots at Colts (video)

The Colts showed an unconventional formation on a fourth-down fake play. Seemed as if the Colts were the ones faked out. The Colt were flagged for having an illegal formation because only one player was on the line of scrimmage.

If the Colts had six players to the right of the snapper on the line of scrimmage, this is a legal, albeit unorthodox, formation. Any lineman may snap the ball, including a receiver who is on the end of the line (and the receiver remains eligible to catch the pass).

Mark Schultz Anonymous
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20159:28 pm

Dolphins at Titans (video)

Good job by the Triplette crew to be alert on this Dolphins trick play for a touchdown. Surprise is the enemy of officiating.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20159:20 pm

Patriots at Colts (video)

Referee Tony Corrente confirms the touchdown call made by line judge Bart Longston and field judge Buddy Horton.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20159:16 pm

Chargers at Packers (video)

Referee Walt Anderson confirms the catch call of head linesman Steve Stelljes and side judge Laird Hayes.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20157:44 pm

Chargers at Packers (video)

Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman caught a touchdown pass at the expiration of the second quarter. Following the score, Inman and Kennan Allen each committed dead-ball unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Ordinarily, this is carried to the kickoff following the touchdown, but the penalty carries forward to the second half. This applies regardless of the team kicking off in the next half. It does not get assessed on the extra-point attempt. If it was in a game tied at the end of regulation, the dead-ball foul is assessed on the overtime kickoff.

Only one dead-ball foul from the touchdown can carry forward to the kickoff, unless there is a foul against an official or other “between downs” fouls.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20157:18 pm

Ravens at 49ers (video)

Referee John Parry upholds this Anquan Boldin catch.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20156:44 pm

Bears at Lions (video)

A very rare roughing the pass call in Detroit – not the call itself, but who called it. Umpire Bill Schuster calls the Bears’ Pernell McPhee for going low in Matthew Stafford. Schuster and referee Walt Coleman had a long discussion before going with the call. A few years ago, I asked former NFL umpire and supervisor Jim Daopoulos if the umpire can make calls this historically fall under the referee’s purview.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 18, 20156:32 pm

Dolphins at Titans (video)

Jeff Triplette calls Olivier Vernon of the Dolphins for roughing the passer for a low hit on Marcus Mariota. After the game, Titans’ coach Ken Wisenhunt denounced the play. Vernon said he apologized to Mariota, don’t be surprised if Vernon is fined this week.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20155:58 pm

Dolphins at Titans (video)

Ravens at 49ers

Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes makes a spectacular interception, which Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to challenge. Because a coach cannot challenge any aspect of a play with an interception, it is a penalty. The Titans lost a timeout for the improper challenge. (It is 15 yards if the team doesn’t have any timeouts.) The coach is not docked a challenge.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh attempted to challenge the fact that the 49ers had 12 men on the field prior to calling a timeout. These are the fouls that can be called (other than illegal substitution fouls, which are different) for 12 men:

  • 12 in offensive huddle (not applicable here, but not reviewable)
  • 12 in formation with the snap imminent (kills the snap, not reviewable)
  • 12 on the field during the play (reviewable)

A timeout cannot save the first two from being called. Harbaugh was confused that the 12-in-formation foul applied — although referee John Parry clarified that the center had not yet handled the ball, so the snap wasn’t imminent. If the referee determines that the coach is generally confused, and not using the challenge flag to delay the game, the coach may pick up the challenge flag without penalty. This is a judgement call by the referee.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20155:43 pm

Broncos at Browns (video)

Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders catches the ball near the sideline with seconds remaining in regulation. Thinking he was not contacted, Sanders runs to the end zone to celebrate with the clock running. Time expired in regulation before the Broncos got a play off.

Replay cannot reverse a down-by-contact ruling, however the replay showed Sanders did not maintain control of the ball, and it was incomplete having touched the ground. Time was added to the clock, but on fourth down, the Broncos opted to punt.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20154:12 pm

Bears at Lions (video)

The Lions muffed a punt when Corey Fuller touches the ball with his foot and the Bears recover. The decision is whether Fuller is actively engaged in the play or if he is passive. A passive player cannot be blocked into the ball to create a live ball. Walt Coleman’s crew ruled that Fuller was actively blocking on the play.

A muffed scrimmage kick recovered by the kickers is subject to an automatic replay review — the same as a fumble recovery or interception. The play can be reviewed for being touched; but it cannot be reviewed for active/passive, as this is a judgement call.

Since it is a recovery of a muffed punt, the ball is dead as soon as the Bears recover.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20153:54 pm

Bears at Lions

The Bears interception in the end zone that curiously was overturned to a Lions touchdown is a separate post.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20152:44 pm

Chiefs at Vikings

A holding penalty was called by referee Jerome Boger in the end zone, however Boger said the foul occurred in the field of play. Holding is assessed based on where the hold is initiated, so any subsequent action in the end zone does not make it a safety.

The replay shown on TV did not go back to the snap, but it appears the hold did just begin in the end zone. If there is doubt as to safety or no safety, the no-safety call has to win out.

Holding is not reviewable, even if it is to check for a potential safety. The Vikings declined the penalty.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20152:28 pm

Cardinals at Steelers

IMG_20151018_140541369A punt by the Steelers was grabbed by Brandon Boykin of the Steelers at the 2 to prevent the ball from going in the end zone. The Cardinals subsequently attempted to recover the ball and muffed the recovery, after which the Steelers jumped on the loose ball in the end zone.

Since the Steelers touched the ball first, this is considered an illegal-touch violation. This is not a penalty, but it gives the Cardinals a consequence-free attempt to make a play on the ball. With a narrow exception, the Cardinals can always revert back to the first-touch spot if the remainder of the play is less beneficial. Therefore, the Steelers could not get possession of the ball after the first touch. There can be multiple “first” touch spots, and the receiving team can revert back to any one of them.

With the Cardinals muffed recovery, the Steelers play in the end zone is not a touchback, since a touching violation cannot come after the receiving team’s touch. The Cardinals’ options are to take the result of the play (Steelers touchdown) or the first touch spot (2-yard line), so obviously the Cardinals take the ball at the 2.

The Steelers did not establish possession at the 2, so the play was allowed to continue. Had Boykin established possession by holding the ball long enough, it would have been a dead ball.

The narrow exception is if the receiving team gains possession, loses possession, and commits a foul: the foul trumps the first-touch spot by rule.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 18, 20151:04 pm

Today’s officials

Referee assignments for Week 6 (2015 crew rosters)


  • U 102 Bruce Stritesky (swing official) to Morelli’s crew (WAS-NYJ)
  • SJ Scott Edwards to Morelli’s crew to replace Rob Vernatchi (WAS-NYJ)
  • FJ Mike Weatherford to Blakeman’s crew (CIN-BUF)
  • BJ Greg Wilson to Triplette’s crew (MIA-TEN)
  • BJ Steve Freeman to Corrente’s crew (NE-IND)

From Football Zebras editor Ben Austro

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2 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 6

  1. I watched the Cardinals/Steelers game and I thought the Cards coach was going to blow an artery and vapor lock right there on the field he was so angry with Referee Hochuli and his crew. And for good reason, the crew blew several important calls, especially in the first half, most of which went against the Cardinals and took points off the board.

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