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Week 3 Officiating Video: pass interference, sideline plays, and the momentum rule




NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino released his weekly video highlighting some calls from Week 3. Items discussed included pass interference, illegal touching and where receivers can line up if and if not on the line of scrimmage.

  • During the Browns-Ravens game on Sunday, a missed unsportsmanlike conduct foul (which we covered Sunday on our Quick Calls) occurred when Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel lined up less than five yards from the sideline bench area so as to appear to be talking to his coaches when the ball was snapped. Once snapped, Manziel ran down the field to complete a long pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer. However, the hideout rule instituted in the league during the 1980s made this act illegal. Blandino also indicated that if Manziel was on the line of scrimmage (he was one yard back) his shoulders would also have to be square with the line of scrimmage.
  • Remember that Steelers sideline call that could’ve gone, well, any way, really?  The deep official in the end zone ruled that receiver Markus Weaton stepped out of bounds prior to touching the football. Wheaton does bring both back feet in and reestablish himself prior to touching the ball, however that should be ruled an illegal touching penalty. The Steelers had the option to challenge that call, but they did not. Had they done so, they would’ve won the challenge, and the Steelers would’ve been backed up five yards and repeated third down.
  • An interesting booth review occurred with regard to the momentum rule during the game between the Packers and Lions on Sunday. The rule states if a player (1) is going towards his own end zone, (2) intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble or a kick in the field of play, (3) is brought into his end zone by momentum, and (4) the ball becomes dead in the end zone, then the ball is spotted where it was initially recovered. Originally, Packers cornerback Davon House intercepted the ball and it was ruled a touchback. The replay official reviewed the play and determined the ball should have been placed on the one-yard line. The Lions, on the subsequent play, earned a safety when they tackled the quarterback in their own end zone.
  • Finally, Blandino discussed the timing of an apparent pass interference call. Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was set to receive a pass when he was contacted by cornerback Tramon Williams. When slowed down on video, it looks like Williams made contact one frame before the ball was caught by Johnson, however officials on the field ruled it a nearly simultaneous play and, therefore, not a foul. Blandino indicated that this is the correct call, and that pass interference must be determined at game speed