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Quick calls: Week 10

Liveblog coverage of the calls and rules interpretations in 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.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 4:34 pm EST

Broncos at Saints (video)

The Saints tied the game with a fourth-quarter touchdown, but a blocked extra point — which would have preserved the tie as recently as 2014 — was run back for the game-winning points for the Broncos. The recent rule changeallows the defense to score on an extra-point attempt. There have been three defensive twos in the NFL, and this is the first time that it was the game-winning score.

Broncos safety Justin Simmons was able to leap over the offensive line cleanly, so there is no foul there. (A foul would have allowed the Saints to kick from the 7½ or attempt a 2-pointer from the 1.)

The runback by Will Parks was under review to see if Parks stepped out of bounds. CBS did not have a camera directly down the sideline, so the only angles available did not show any definitive evidence that Parks touched the sideline. The two-point play stands.

And, this is still not the most heartbreaking extra-point kick in Saints history. That honor goes to a 2003 missed extra point as time expired on a multiple-lateral touchdown (video).

Update: Several questions about this: Number 93, defensive lineman Jared Crick, is seen keeping the long snapper’s head from getting in Simmons’ path. This is not leverage, because Crick is not attempting to jump by pushing on the snapper. The long snapper is a defenseless player, but this applies only to forcible contact to the head or neck area until he rights himself. Defensive holding would only be appropriate if there was a downward takedown or a pull-and-shoot maneuver (pulling to create a line gap for another defender to enter). Because Crick is just keeping his hands above the snapper’s helmet, he’s really doing nothing that would cause any of these penalties to be called.

Update 2: SVP/officiating Dean Blandino released a video on the call, highlighting the above.

Dolphins at Chargers

In the first quarter, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers attempted to connect to receiver Dontrelle Inman, but Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain interfered on the play. McCain committed a facemask foul as part of the interference.

Ordinarily, two defensive fouls combine, and the offense has to choose one of them and decline the other. The pass interference was 12 yards downfield, and the facemask is 15 yards, but from the previous spot, since there is no completed catch. However, the rules provide that if a defensive pass interference is also a personal foul, then bothfouls are assessed. This prevents a defender from making a calculated effort to commit a personal foul intentionally as a yardage saver.

When I was writing my book, I was searching for an instance when a personal foul was tacked on to a DPI, but never found it. This is the first instance I can recall this rule being enforced.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 11:57 pm EST


Seahawks at Patriots (video)

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is ruled to have fumbled the ball after a catch. On replay, a freeze frame in the video shows that Gronkowski’s forearm is down and he still has firm control of the ball. Another angle from the end zone was not conclusive, as it was difficult to determine when the loss of control was. Because this was a primetime game, there are additional camera angles to assist in the replay, contrasted to the Broncos-Saints regional game (see other entry) that had bad angles that shut out any reversal down the sideline.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 11:51 pm EST


Seahawks at Patriots (video)

The Seahawks challenged that running back C.J. Prosise crossed the goal line. An angle showed that the ball, in fact, crossed the goal line, but there is no way to tell if Prosise’s knee is down in the pile-up. Without conclusive evidence that he’s still a live runner, replay cannot reverse the ruling to a touchdown.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 11:32 pm EST


Bears at Buccaneers (video)

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is ruled to have fumbled forward in the end zone and the recovery attempt was muffed out of the end zone. Cutler had lost control of the ball before he initiated any passing motion, which loses his ability to get an incomplete forward pass ruling.

This was ruled a safety and two points for the Bucs.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 9:48 pm EST


Texans at Jaguars (video)

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw a pass at the feet of running back T.J. Yeldon. The ball caromed off his foot and was caught out of the air by linebacker Whitney Mercilis for an interception. This is not an illegal kick, as there is not a deliberate kick of the ball. If it was, the interception would still stand, as the penalty would be declined.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 8:27 pm EST


Cowboys at Steelers (video)

Ben Roethlisberger fakes a spike and finds Antonio Brown for a touchdown. Note Carl Paganelli hustling the ball back in, spotting it and taking his position. Also, great job by Clete Blakeman and Paganelli to not assume the spike and hold the whistle. They could have easily spoiled the play.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 7:31 pm EST


Dolphins at Chargers (video)

Is quarterback Phillip Rivers auditioning for a referee job? He assists Terry McAulay in making a defensive holding call. While this could be interpreted as taunting, it did not rise to the level of a flag and the officials correctly kept the flags in their pockets. At most this would be a “talk to”–where the officials basically tell Rivers to pipe down.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 6:40 pm EST


Chiefs at Panthers (video)

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters scooped up a Panthers fumble and punts the ball into the stands after the play was over. As the rule is written, it is irrelevant that the ball went into the stands. Examining the play without the change of possession, players launching the ball by pass or kick or by spiking the ball after a huge gain or defensive stop create a delay in spotting the ball for the next snap. This was made a dead-ball delay of game foul a few years ago. Even though there is no delay in readying the ball for play following the possession change, it is not one of the exceptions to the rule. Those exceptions are:

  • following a touchdown
  • actions that occur out of bounds
  • actions that are done as taunting are assessed as taunting.

Peters’ punt was in the field of play, as so a dead-ball 5-yard delay of game is assessed on the Chiefs. He will also be fined $ 6,076 by the league for this action.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 6:07 pm EST


Dolphins at Chargers (video)

Jay Ajayi is exhibit “A” on why officials need to have a slow whistle. Terry McAulay’s crew does a good job holding the whistle.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 5:58 pm EST


Cowboys at Steelers (video)

The Cowboys are penalized for roughing the passer on Ben Roethlisberger. While Troy Aikman questioned the call, Mike Pereira said Clete Blakeman was right to flag the Cowboys.

I’m still trying to figure out who the trainer was shouting at and why.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 5:31 pm EST


49ers at Cardinals (video)

David Johnson dives for the pylon for a Cardinals’ touchdown. Field judge Tom Hill was right at the pylon, checked with line judge Tom Symonette to make sure he stayed in bounds, and then went up with the touchdown.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 5:21 pm EST


Cowboys at Steelers (video)

Ezekiel Elliott scores on an 83-yard screen pass. Excellent speed by field judge Adrian Hill.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 4:48 pm EST


Cowboys at Steelers (video)

Dak Prescott is stripped of the ball and the Steelers recover. The play was coming right at Carl Paganelli. The umpire wheeled out of the way and still was in good position to rule possession.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 4:40 pm EST


Cowboys at Steelers

Line judge Byron Boston is on Clete Blakeman’s crew today, replacing regular line judge Tony Veteri, who was scheduled for this game. We don’t know the reason for the change.

Boston is assigned to Walt Anderson’s crew. The Anderson crew has a regularly scheduled bye week this week.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 4:10 pm EST


Falcons at Eagles (video)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan finds Taylor Gabriel for a 76-yard touchdown. These long bombs challenge officials to keep the play boxed in.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 13 • 4:03 pm EST


Chiefs at Panthers (video)

Eric Berry of the Chiefs intercepts Cam Newton and goes east-west and north-south to score a touchdown. Good reverse mechanics by Carl Cheffers’ crew. When the runner reverses his field like Berry did, it raises the possibility of illegal blocks in the back. Everything looked clean here.

Note line judge Tim Podraza was at the goal line at as Berry hit the pylon. His entire body may not have broken the plane of the goal line, but the ball did, so it’s six points for the Chiefs. Podraza was back as far as he could be. This is wise. If Podraza had been standing right at the pylon, he’d have been knocked down.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 3:46 pm EST


Packers at Titans (video)

Busy, busy day in Nashville. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scores a touchdown on a 20-yard scramble. Rodgers is hit in the end zone by Titans cornerback Perrish Cox, which ignited a post-play scrum. Cox’s hit drew a foul, and flags flew during the confrontation.

Although players do get contacted in the end zone, that would apply if a player is being chased. When Cox approaches Rodgers, his angle has his contact point in the end zone, not in the field of play. The deference given to a pursuing player is not earned when the aim is to hit in the end zone. Referee Jeff Triplette announced this was a late hit on a quarterback; the fact that he is a quarterback is irrelevant, and does not affect the ruling. Rodgers is an open-field runner and is treated as such.

The flags during the scrum were picked up. The instigating factor was the hit, and there were no flagrant factors in play in the post-play activity. This is entirely supported to avoid the relatively light retaliation, which is nothing more than saber rattling, from offsetting the hit that is a player-safety concern.

Initially, Triplette was intending to grant the foul on the 2-point conversion attempt; this is not allowed, as it can only be enforced on the ensuing kickoff. The Packers used this opportunity to try their own onside kick. They were offside and the ball went out of bounds. The out-of-bounds kickoff was declined, with the offside enforced from the dead-ball spot.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 3:15 pm EST


Rams at Jets

img_20161113_132435239_hdr.jpgA review for a first down was reversed by Ed Hochuli in review. The catch would have been a first down, except that the receiver’s momentum carried him behind the sticks. He was then wrapped up by the defense at the 28-yard line and pulled backwards. The Jets get a forward-progress ruling based on the point that the defense initiated contact, which occurs short of the first-down line.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 2:55 pm EST


Packers at Titans (video)

img_20161113_143604428_hdr.jpgAnother confusing set of circumstances that Jeff Triplette’s crew had to sort out.

Punt returner Trevor Davis called for a fair catch. A proper fair-catch signal is to wave a hand from side-to-side, so when his hand goes straight up and down at an angle, this should be a foul for an invalid fair catch signal. In this case, since there’s no foul, we are proceeding with the fact this will be a fair catch.

Davis steps forward in an attempt to secure the catch, but he muffs it. Davis’s ability to finish the fair catch continues until the ball touches the ground or if the ball bounces too far away to finish the catch. This means he’s still entitled to an unimpeded ability to field the ball. When a player is interfered on a fair-catch opportunity, it is a 15-yard penalty if the punt hasn’t arrived, but a 0-yard penalty if it is while the catch is being muffed; in both cases, the fair catch is awarded. This means the Packers are awarded the catch, and the Titans recovery is nullified. There was no flag for fair-catch interference, and there absolutely should be if there is no invalid fair-catch signal foul.

The Packers were subsequently charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct foul for pulling players off the scrum for the loose ball. This is a dead-ball foul, but should be combined with the uncalled fair-catch interference foul. All things considered, it would be a replay of the down, because the Titans recovery comes after their supposed foul.

However, if an invalid fair-catch signal was called, it would have been declined in favor of the 15-yarder, and the Titans would keep the ball, exactly as the play netted out in the end.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 2:09 pm EST


Packers at Titans 

The ejection and the enforcement of penalties on the same play is a separate post.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 1:15 pm EST


Packers at Titans (video)

The Titans attempted to catch the Packers off guard with a surprise onside kick to start the game. This also challenges the officials to be ready right from the get-go — as they were — although some coaches will tell the officiating crew if one of these surprise plays are in their gameplan.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 13 • 12:00 pm EST


Today’s officials


  • U 124 Carl Paganelli* to Blakeman’s crew (DAL-PIT)
  • U 81 Roy Ellison* to Triplette’s crew (GB-TEN)
  • LJ 90 Mike Spanier* to Steratore’s crew as HL (SEA-NE/night)
  • SJ 89 Jon Lucivansky* to Allen’s crew (SF-AZ)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.


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