In this week’s officiating video (below), senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino covered the kickoff in-bounds that was actually out of bounds on a heads-up play by the Green Bay Packers. We covered this extensively here in our week 3 quick calls, but briefly, if player out of bounds who does not reestablish himself remains out and touches the ball on a kickoff, the ball is considered out of bounds. Out-of-bounds kickoffs give the receiving team the ball at the 40-yard line. Kickers who are trying to evade the new touchback rule by kicking short of the end zone must factor this sideline play in as well.
Blandino also covered the horse collar rule and we covered it here in our week 3 Quick Calls above. Briefly, in the 49ers-Seahawks game, 49ers linebacker Eli Harold tackled quarterback Russell Wilson outside the pocket by grabbing him by the nameplate and pulling him to the ground. Harold was fined this week by the NFL $18,231 for a first offense. A horse-collar tackle involves pulling the runner toward the ground, which does not have to be backwards. Under the rule revision, the defender does not have to grab inside the collar but is grabbed anywhere on the collar, including the nameplate. The horse-collar rule does not apply to a quarterback in the pocket, but, as shown here, Wilson exited the pocket before contact.
The video also covers defensive holding, specifically relating to punt and field goal formations. Defensive holding includes “pull and shoot” where the defensive lineman pulls on a blocker and allows another defender to shoot that corresponding gap. This is still considered defensive holding. On a field goal, result is a five yard penalty and an automatic first down, on an extra point the result is a retry for two points at the one yard line or five yard penalty at the end of the kick. Same rules apply for plays from scrimmage that aren’t kicks.
Also, an incomplete pass was reversed to a Jaguars touchdown, which Blandino explained the review of the catch process on this play.
Lastly, Blandino also spoke briefly on the “first-touch violation” on punts. When the kicking team touches the punt before the receiving team, it’s a violation, not a foul. In this instance in the Chargers-Colts game, the Colts punted and touched the ball prior to the official declaring the ball dead, resulting in a first-touch violation. If the quarter ends, the violation allows the return team to extend for one untimed down (which the Chargers elected to do). On any punt, because the first touch is a violation, the receiving team is allowed to take a first-touch spot in most situations. If the kicking team touches it and return team gains possession and fumbles, the return team can revert back to the original spot of the touch. (The exception is if the return team commits a foul and fumbles, the return team cannot keep the ball.) The theory behind the rule is to protect the return and to provide less incentive for the kickers to prevent the opposing team from attempting a return.