2017 NFC Divisional Playoff
Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the NFC Divisional Playoff game from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.
Today’s crew is headed by Bill Vinovich.
|R||52||Bill Vinovich||13||San Diego||accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor|
|U||131||Mark Pellis||4||Parry||Allegheny||financial advisor|
|DJ||134||Ed Camp||18||Boger||William Paterson||physical education teacher*|
|LJ||18||Byron Boston||23||Anderson||Austin||tax consultant|
|FJ||97||Tom Hill||19||Allen||Carson Newman||teacher*|
|BJ||83||Shawn Hochuli||4||Allen||Claremont||financial advisor|
*indicates full-time official
- Replay: Charles Stewart
- Terry McAulay (R)
- Hugo Cruz (DJ)
- Mike Weatherford (FJ)
- January 13, 2018 - 7:39 pm 1:05 | 4th qtr. Booth review (2:00) — Completed catch. Call stands. key
- January 13, 2018 - 7:36 pm 3:30 | 4th qtr. Eagles challenge — Completed catch. Call reversed: incomplete. key
- January 13, 2018 - 7:16 pm 6:05 | 4th qtr. Eagles FG — Jake Elliot 21 yd. PHI 15-10 key
- January 13, 2018 - 7:07 pm :15 | 3rd qtr. Eagles FG — Jake Elliot 37 yd. PHI 12-10 key
- January 13, 2018 - 6:21 pm :00 | 2nd qtr. Eagles FG — Jake Elliot 53 yd. ATL 10-9 key
- January 13, 2018 - 5:45 pm 5:41 | 2nd Falcons TD — Devonta Freeman 6 yd. pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick). ATL 10-6 key
- January 13, 2018 - 5:42 pm 7:41 | 2nd qtr Official review — Punt touched by the receiving team, recovered by the kicking team. Call confirmed. key
- January 13, 2018 - 5:40 pm 10:28 | 2nd qtr. Eagles TD — LeGarrette Blount 33 yd. run (kick hit left upright). PHI 6-3 key
- January 13, 2018 - 5:38 pm 10:51 | 1st qtr. Official review — Touchdown. Call reversed: short of end zone. key
- January 13, 2018 - 4:47 pm 9:04 | 1st qtr. Falcons FG — Matt Bryant 33 yd. ATL 3-0 key
Kickoff conditions: Sunny 31°, wind 18mph
Bill Vinovich is in his 12th season and 9th as referee. This is his 10th postseason assignment, including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 3 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLIX.
14:46 | 1st qtr. The first flag of the day was pass interference on the Atlanta Falcons on a wounded duck of a pass by the Eagles’ Nick Foles. Even though the receiver had to come back to the ball, the defender is still responsible to avoid contact. Allen Baynes and Shawn Hochuli tossed the laundry.
2:29 | 1st qtr. (video). After failing to reach the line to gain on a third down play, the Falcons got on the ball to go for it on fourth down. The play clock ran to zero, and even though the Falcons ran a quick play (and would have been unsuccessful) they were called for a delay of game foul. On replays it is clear that the back judge, who is responsible for the play clock, was killing the play immediately.
The defense always has the option to decline the yardage for a penalty, but because the play never technically happened they can not take the apparent result of the play. Since the Falcons were clearly going for it on fourth down, the Eagles accepted the penalty and this becomes a rare instance of a foul benefiting the offenders.
Just as they drew it up, I’m sure.
A botched handoff is recovered by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles who initially is ruled to have a touchdown. It was reversed to short.
This is a legal advance by the offense. There are different rules for fumbles that occur on 4th down or after the 2:00 warning, but that still won’t affect the play if that was the case. Foles had possession and the running back did not, so Foles is allowed to recover the fumbled ball and advance it.
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) January 13, 2018
7:31 | 2nd qtr. Eagles safety Rodney McLeod is flagged for unnecessary roughness in the end zone for making contact with the receiver’s helmet. In real time, this seems a reasonable call. However, the defenseless player provisions in the rules only apply in the case of forcible blows to the head or neck area. With the benefit of replay, it doesn’t appear that the contact to the head was forcible.
The Eagles avoid a running into the kicker foul thanks to replay. If a defender tips the kick, there is no running into the kicker or roughing the kicker foul. Replay showed the Eagles defender barely getting his middle and ring finger on the punt, thus Vinovich picked up the flag.
Touching of the ball is a reviewable aspect, but the foul itself is not reviewable. The flag can only be picked up because of the touch, but no other aspect (such as whether contact was made) of the foul can be reviewed.
Longest field goal in the playoffs by a rookie
Falcons 10-9, half
- Falcons — 3/68
- Eagles — 3/19
- 3 booth reviews: 1 confirmed, 2 reversed
:01 | 2nd qtr. Following a quick pass, the Eagles fortunately had 1 second remaining on the clock.
Clock operators are local hires who are managed under the officiating department, and there is not a biased one among them. For the postseason, the league does not use the local clock operators, and will bring them from a neutral city.
Scrimmage balls, unlike the kicking balls that are single-game use, are in the team’s ball supply and are even used in practice. Each game they are used, they are examined by the officiating crew and the ball pressure is checked. With a silver marker, the referee’s uniform number is applied to the ball, with Vinovich’s “52” at the end of the list.
Flipped the pic around for easier viewing, but WTF is the significance of this writing on the gameball? Not snark, I don’t know… pic.twitter.com/daWpOlMFe6
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) January 13, 2018
In real time it looks like a catch, but 21st century technology and the NFL’s interpretation make this in incomplete pass.
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) January 14, 2018
:58 | 4th qtr. Good encroachment call all the way. The Eagles held still and didn’t give the officials a tough call.
Eagles, 15-10, final
- Falcons — 4/73
- Eagles — 4/24
- 4 booth reviews: 1 confirmed, 2 reversed, 1 stands
- 1 PHI challenge: reversed
There were some tight calls that needed a second look (especially in the playoffs), hence the five reviews. Other than one unnecessary roughness that might not have been there, I think the crew did a fine job.
Referee Bill Vinovich prepared his the crew well and he ran a typically smooth game.