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Hanie clocks ball too late, results in game-ending intentional grounding foul



Week 12: Bears at Raiders

4th Quarter | :04 remaining | Raiders 25-20 | Bears ball | 1st & 10 @ CHI 46 | video

After completing a pass to receiver Matt Forte, Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie called for a spike to stop the clock. Hanie delayed, as if he intended to fake the spike, then committed to spiking the ball. Because a clock-stopping spike (ruled an incomplete pass) must occur immediately, the fact that Hanie delayed caused the play to be ruled intentional grounding, as if it was any other pass play. Also, the penalty carries a 10-second runoff, so the remaining four seconds were docked from the clock, and the game ended right there.

Refreree Ron Winter briefly conferenced on the penalty before the announcement, but it is absolutely the correct call.

From Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1:

Item 3: Stopping Clock. A player under center is permitted to stop the game clock legally to save time if, immediately upon receiving the snap, he begins a continuous throwing motion and throws the ball directly into the ground.
Item 4: Delayed Spike. A passer, after delaying his passing action for strategic purposes, is prohibited from throwing the ball to the ground in front of him, even though he is under no pressure from defensive rusher(s).

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)