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Texans at Bengals (video)
A catch-fumble by Bengals wide receiver A. J. Green is confirmed by replay. In this play, Green gets control of the football with both feet on the ground and is beginning to turn around when he is wrapped up by Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson. Then while Johnson tackles Green, the ball is forced out by strong safety Quintin Demps. Green survived the initial contact by Johnson without being forced to the ground and shuffle stepped before he was pulled down, demonstrating possession and becoming a runner.
Cowboys at Buccaneers (video)
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston made a leap to the end zone, but lost the ball prior to breaking the plane. The Cowboys recovered in the end zone, but they were also guilty of a defensive holding penalty.
The penalty nullifies the subsequent recovery; only a post-recovery foul would allow the Cowboys to keep the ball. Referee Bill Vinovich announced the foul was to be enforced half the distance to the goal. Defensive holding is ordinarily tacked on to the end of the run, but in this case the ball was dead in the end zone. How is this enforced?
Since the fumble occurred beyond the line of scrimmage, the foul is assessed from the spot of the fumble. This is roughly at the 1-yard line, and then marked half the distance from there. Vinovich and crew did, in fact, spot this correctly.
(Click the image to enlarge.)
From the comments:
This was, perhaps, a little misleading in the announcement, but it actually is the correct call by rule. Since Russell Wilson had a defender making contact with him in a way that affected the flight of the ball, the requirement that the pass makes it to the line of scrimmage is relaxed. From Rule 8-2-1, the next item from the citation above:
Item 2. Physical Contact. Intentional grounding should not be called if: … (b) the passer is out of the pocket, and his passing motion is significantly affected by physical contact from a defensive player that causes the ball to land short of the line of scrimmage.
Since the ball was going in a trajectory to achieve the line of scrimmage, and could have made it without defensive contact (judgement call), the call of intentional grounding is waived. This is because the intentional part of intentional grounding is not met — the grounding is deemed to be a result of the defensive contact.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians correctly challenged a first down spot for the Seahawks, earning a third challenge by having two correct challenges.
Arians used that challenge on the very next play to challenge the first down spot for the Seahawks. There was no conclusive evidence as to the spot of the ball, as the ball disappeared into a pile. Additionally, there were no yard lines or hashmarks that could be used as visible evidence to determine the spot.
No coach has ever won three challenges in the same game.
Cardinals at Seahawks (video)
Cardinals tight end Darren Fells was involved in a catch review after he dropped the ball after the two-minute warning. The Seahawks picked up the ball, but line judge Carl Johnson blew the play dead. My initial though at game speed was that this was a good call.
The replay seems to show Fells tucking the ball and turning upfield, satisfying the criteria that he “transitions to a runner.” However, in replay, the ruling was that there was no conclusive evidence that the catch was made. Although Blakeman has the final decision, this obviously was decided by either Dean Blandino or Al Riveron in the officiating command center. Blakeman can make a contrary decision, but going against the boss’s call certainly impacts grades.
Cardinals at Seahawks (video)
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas intercepts the ball in the end zone, lands in the field of play, and then returns into the end zone where he is tackled. The ruling was when Thomas landed in the field of play, he was down by contact.
In review, it was determined that when Thomas was down, the entire ball had not exited the end zone, therefore it was reversed to a touchback.
Had Thomas not been touched by a Cardinals player initially, his return to the end zone would have been ruled a safety on the defensive squad, because the re-entry into the end zone would be charged to Thomas.
Panthers at Titans (video)
Titans running back Dexter McCluster runs for the end zone and hits the pylon. Touchdown is ruled. The ruling stands after reviewing the possibility of the foot stepping out of bounds.
Browns at Steelers (video)
A touchdown by Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is reviewed. Although his knee comes down in the field of play, the position of the ball is screed by a player. Without a definitive position, the touchdown stands.
Vikings at Raiders (video)
A completed pass at the sideline by Vikings receiver Stefan Diggs stands; no evidence showing he did step out of bounds.
Vikings at Raiders (video)
On a Raiders punt, the initial touching of the ball is at the 3-yard line. A kicking play is dead as soon as the kicking team player establishes possession of the kicked ball; the caveat on a punt is that the momentum of the kicking team player can create a touchback, so the play continues until momentum is no longer a factor. For this play, the call was “stands”, meaning there was no conclusive evidence to rule a touchback, therefore the Vikings get the ball at the 3 — the first touch spot.
This is what is under review:
- Recovery of a loose ball is the same as the catch process. It looks like the ball is controlled to the ground, although there is a judgement call involved in that.
- If he released the ball in the field of play after possession is ruled, it is a dead ball, and anything after that is irrelevant.
- If possession is not ruled, the loose ball may/may not touch the Raiders player in the end zone. Under the strict indisputable evidence criteria, I’m not sure the league office would rule the ball was touched by a player in the end zone.
With all these factors in play, and none of them decisively clear, the ruling on the field stands.
Patriots at Giants (video)
After a long discussion at the sideline, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is ruled to have made the go-ahead touchdown catch. On review, Beckham did not maintain possession long enough, as cornerback Malcom Butler knocked the ball away a fraction of a second after Beckham’s second foot came down. When played back at full speed, that is a bang-bang play, the catch and the loss of possession are nearly simultaneous. The touchdown was reversed to an incomplete pass.
Jaguars at Ravens (video)
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked as time expired in the fourth quarter, but linebacker Elvis Dumervil pulled at Bortles’ facemask. This is is a 15-yard foul that extends the quarter by an untimed down.
For enforcement of the 15 yards, this is a behind/behind enforcement: both the foul and the dead-ball spot are behind the line of scrimmage. Under a rule change in 2014, the behind/behind enforcement is assessed from the previous line of scrimmage. Therefore, the sack yardage is also negated, even though the foul is a “spot” foul.
Lions at Packers (video)
Ameer Abdullah returned the second-half kickoff for the Lions 104 yards to the 1-yard line. Side judge Jimmy Buchanan was keeping pace with the play and was there to make the call at the pylon.
According to Quirky Research, this ties the record for the longest nonscoring play in league history.
Lions at Packers
Head coach Jim Caldwell declined an offensive holding penalty in the fourth quarter on an incomplete 3rd-and-2 pass. When Caldwell saw that the Packers’ punt team was not entering the field, he reconsidered his position, and accepted the penalty. Since the ball had not yet been whistled ready-for-play, it is acceptable for Caldwell to change his mind.
Browns at Steelers (video)
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was tackled by linebacker Arthur Motes who pulls on Manziel’s facemask. Although this was a violent twist of his neck, it is not considered flagrant, so it is not an ejectable offense. Facemask fouls are not subject to ejection in the course of regular play, even though the result of the action appears to be violent. (Some hard hits are legal, even though it may cause injury.)
Motes is not out of the woods for a fine this week.
Dolphins at Eagles (video)
Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford fumbled the ball as he was being sacked. The loose ball was ruled on the field to be recovered by the Dolphins and fumbled back to the Eagles. Because of the double change of possession, this is actually a first down at the dead-ball spot for the Eagles. The Eagles committed a holding foul before the fumble, so the Dolphins accepted the penalty to revert it back to repeating third down.
The Dolphins were challenging whether the ball was dead in their possession and before the second fumble. Referee Terry McAulay reversed the ruling, but not specific to the challenge. (By rule, any element of the play is reviewable, not necessarily limited to the challenge.) McAulay ruled that the Dolphins never had possession during the play, as a fumble recoveries follow the catch-process rules. Therefore, there was never a change of possession, with the dead ball all the way back at the 3-yard line. With the reversal, the Dolphins are then allowed to reconsider accepting the foul, which they then declined, for 4th-and-27 at the 3.
The Dolphins were correct to challenge, even though there was a double change of possession on the play. The accepted foul negates the change, so there is no booth review in this case. This is not affected by the subsequent choice to decline the foul after the review.
Lots of moving parts on this play, so good work by McAulay and the crew to keep all of these moving parts ordered properly throughout the process.
Browns at Steelers
Steelers quarterback Landry Jones was injured in the first quarter. The number-two quarterback on the roster is the already-injured Ben Roethlisberger, who left the game last week with a prognosis (at the time) that he would miss a few weeks. Michael Vick is officially listed as the third quarterback, but he is inactive this week. The rule that allows a team to have an emergency quarterback was removed in 2011.
Nos cœurs sont avec Paris
All NFL stadiums observed a moment of silence and reflection in remembrance of the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks.
- HL8 Dana McKenzie to Tobert’s crew (CLE-PIT)
- U96 Undrey Wash to Coleman’s crew (HOU-CIN/Monday)