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CallsQuick calls: Week 10

Quick calls: Week 10

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

Marcus Griep November 16, 201511:54 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 16, 20153:49 am

Cowboys at Buccaneers (video)

2 run_copBuccaneers 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.)

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 16, 20151:32 am

From the comments:

November 15, 2015 at 9:17 pm

*Really* bad call in [email protected]:
R. Wilson throws ball away, in end zone, no receiver in vicinity. Ball is 3-5 yards away from the LoS, so should be intentional ground in endzone, ergo safety.

Ref says it’s not intentional grounding since the ball needs to go “at or to the LoS”. The actual rule is:

Item 1. Passer or Ball Outside Tackle Position. Intentional grounding will not be called when a passer, who is outside, or has been outside, the tackle position throws a forward pass that lands at or beyond the line of scrimmage…

A shame that Blakeman clearly does not know the rule.

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 16, 20151:10 am

Cardinals at Seahawks (video | video)

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 16, 201512:59 am

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 16, 201512:03 am

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 201511:56 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 201511:41 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 201511:13 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 201510:08 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20158:20 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20156:50 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20156:05 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20156:03 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20155:18 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20154:01 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20152:05 pm

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.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20151:45 pm

flag_franceNos cœurs sont avec Paris

All NFL stadiums observed a moment of silence and reflection in remembrance of the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks.

Ben Austro Ben Austro November 15, 20151:32 pm

Today’s officials

Referee assignments for Week 10 (2015 crew rosters)


  • HL8 Dana McKenzie to Tobert’s crew (CLE-PIT)
  • U96 Undrey Wash to Coleman’s crew (HOU-CIN/Monday)

From Football Zebras editor Ben Austro

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Get it now at your favorite online or local bookstore. More information at

22 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 10

  1. I’m an Eagles fan but the roughing the passer hit on Bradford before the half was totol BS. Time to put a tutu on every QB and P/K. And it’s never consistently called by crews either.

  2. [email protected] NE RN Blount two hand shoves a defender after the play in full view of the official. Offical not only doesn’t throw a flag but starts pushing the defender away and jawing at him.


    No consistency in these “taunting” calls. They should be done away with.

  3. I’m not a NY Giants fan. The catch at the end of the Patriots/Giants game is clearly a touchdown. The receiver did not go to the ground. Players have tried the strip play in the end zone for the 45+ years I’ve been watching football. That’s the first time I’ve seen the refs not give the player a TD. It was called a TD on the field and then it was over turned in the booth. Unbelievable! He had possession and 2 feet down, even if for an instant. His 2nd foot is down, then the ball is hit away from him. He is in the end zone. That is a TD! I’m fine with the current definition of a catch and I agree that if a player jumps then they have to keep the ball all the way through the play. The Giants play is not one of those types of plays. This call really pissed me off! I’m sick of the refs, they seem to just make it up sometimes. And other times it seems to be a popularity contest. They ARE the WORST part of sports. I quit watching baseball and basketball because of the refs. It was like watching wrestling, pure entertainment… not actual sporting events. I can’t wait for Dean Blandino to put his head in his ass and pull out another argument that somehow supports the refs latest crazy call. “Well, because the Patriots were going to lose, and we know how mad that would make Tom Brady, that we had to change the TD catch call at the end of the game. It’s because of a new rule on the definition of a TD catch that we just made up… I mean found… in the book, deep in the book, along side the Tuck rule.” Fucking refs fucked up another game, way to go.

  4. *Really* bad call in [email protected]:
    R. Wilson throws ball away, in end zone, no receiver in vicinity. Ball is 3-5 yards away from the LoS, so should be intentional ground in endzone, ergo safety.

    Ref says it’s not intentional grounding since the ball needs to go “at or to the LoS”. The actual rule is:

    Item 1. Passer or Ball Outside Tackle Position. Intentional grounding will not be called when a passer, who is outside, or has been outside, the tackle position throws a forward pass that lands at or beyond the line of scrimmage…

    A shame that Blakeman clearly does not know the rule.

  5. Really?

    1. What is significant? Intentional grounding has been called mostly when the player was pulled to the ground, which obviously affects the motion. This might surprise many on this site who lookat rules more than tape, but QB’s generally do not throw the ball away when they are physically unaffected, and that bit is never used to cancel intentional grounding.

    2. Regardless of that silly item, that was not what Blakeman said, at all.

  6. Is the holding call on #38 in the TB game a correct call if the QB had already passed the line of scrimmage. That player was no longer a receiver

  7. To everyone who thinks the Giants’ Beckham caught the ball–if this happened outside he end zone, then the Patriots jumped on the ball, would it be a turnover? No, it would be an incompletion. Its the same rule and the same result whether it happens in the end zone or on the field.

  8. I agree though the officiating was overall terrible in the NE-NY game. The Giants were gifted several key first downs on bogus DPI calls. Normally I don’t complain about the officiated, but it has gotten ridiculous when a team has to play against both the opponent and the refs.

  9. This just in: Dwight Clark’s touchdown catch in the 1981 playoffs has been overturned. The defender entered his house early this morning and knocked the ball out of his hands, thus preventing him from completing the “process of the catch”.

  10. I’m surprised (well, not really) that nobody has mentioned how the crew in the Jags/Ravens game actually cost the Ravens a win. The last play of the game, with the Jags rushing to get the Hail Mary off, the team failed to set prior to the snap. Although this is normally a live ball foul, in this situation under two minutes, this foul is treated as a FST. Therefore, it is an effort to conserve time and a ten second runoff should have occurred. Game over. Finished. Ravens win. Instead, the crew did not shut the play down and end the game; rather they let the snap get off and the Ravens defender face masked the quarterback, 15 yard style. Oops….with this 15 yards, the Jags were in FG range and their kicker hit the 53 yard game winner. A 3-5 Ravens team still had a shot at the playoffs. At 2-6? Not much chance. Courtesy of the “best football officials in the USA.” Imagine the uproar if this were early season, 2012. LMAO. I hear crickets….

  11. Officiating is horrible,at best this season.I am a Hawks fan and it seems as if the ref’s are on some kind of revenge kick when it comes to the Seahawks – Why,I cannot even imagine !! The face mask that wasn’t,the total lack of holding calls on the Cardinals,and yet at the same time calling them on the Hawks.The officials have also made horrible calls in other games of other teams – With exception of the Pat’s !! Do the Pat’s walk on water – NO they don’t !!

  12. Crusty, not much to say. Nothing to argue about, since everyone agrees they royally screwed up. Will it change anything? Will the referees get replaced? Nope.

    To be fair, not many thought the Ravens had a playoff chance even with a win.

  13. NYG TD play WOULD be incomplete at the 50, HOWEVER, by virtue of being in the end zone and automatic dead ball/end-of-play once break the plane (or catch it beyond the plane), play is over and it is a TD.

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