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Quick calls: Week 9

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 6 • 5:30 pm EST

Jaguars at Chiefs (video)

Jaguars running back Chris Ivory fumbled the ball at the goal line, and after a conference, the officials ruled that Ivory fumbled before breaking the plane of the goal. The Chiefs recovery in the end zone resulted in a touchback. This is automatically  subject to a replay review as a turnover.

Ivory appeared to have broken the plane of the goal prior to the fumble. A freeze frame does show the ball in his hand when there is an unobstructed view down the goal line. Although a touchdown ruling in replay reverses the fumble, the fact that the ball was loose has to be established in replay as occurring after the ball crosses the goal line.  When this is being reviewed, it is important to note that the fumble begins when a player loses control of the ball —  not when the ball is out of the runner’s hands.

This means that there must be evidence of the ball being in Ivory’s control at the point of that freeze frame, and it must be indisputable. While it looks like it may be in his control at this point, it is also possible that he’s lost control. With the laces of the ball turning, there is nothing to help Ivory’s case. Therefore, the call on the field stands.

If a touchdown is ruled on the field, the opposite is also true: is there evidence that shows Ivory lost control at the freeze frame spot? It is just as ambiguous, and had a touchdown been ruled, it would have also stood.

Update: SVP/officiating Dean Blandino released a video that backs up this assessment:

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 10:40 pm EST

Jets at Dolphins

Jets linebacker Calvin Pryor was hit with a taunting foul after a sack which has been widely reported to be due to a “brushing off” gesture and pointing among his teammates. This is not the case.

After the action seen in the video below, CBS was in replays for 10 seconds before we hear umpire Jeff Rice hitting his whistle repeatedly. Shortly after, the live picture shows Pryor hanging his head, consistent with a player who knows he did wrong and was caught, as opposed to wrongfully accused. Rice is shown giving the jersey number to referee Walt Coleman, which was not under discussion during the entire off-camera period, but had just been flagged. CBS then replayed the immediate aftermath of the sack from another angle, even though this is not where the infraction had occurred.  

Since Pryor had a sack, he had to cross back through the Dolphins offense, and somewhere in there he committed some unseen taunting infraction.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 11:52 pm EST


Broncos at Raiders (video)

On the play following a fumble recovery, Broncos safety T.J. Ward appeared to intercept a Derek Carr pass. On replay, Ward can be seen using the ground to aid his ability to control the ball, so this is reversed to an incomplete pass.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 6 • 9:34 pm EST


Broncos at Raiders | 8:15, 1st qtr.

Referee Clete Blakeman sends off wide receiver Seth Roberts of the Raiders to get checked for a concussion. Roberts made the catch and landed forehead first with a defender on his back.

The officials have the authority to send a player off to be examined by medical personnel.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 8:24 pm EST


Panthers at Rams (video)

A few days removed from his confab with the commissioner over non-flagged hits, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was subject to a hard sack in the third quarter by Rams linebacker Mark Barron. Although Newton’s head moves slightly, it appears that the force of the blow was delivered at shoulder-level, which is legal.  

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 6 • 8:18 pm EST


Titans at Chargers (video)

Marcus Mariota fumbles the ball and the Chargers get a scoop and score. On plays like this, the officials have to adjust quickly to reverse mechanics. The referee is responsible for the goal line and the wing officials are responsible to make sure the ball carrier stays in bounds. And the referee (Brad Allen in this case) has to make sure he’s out-of-the-way and safe.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 6 • 8:13 pm EST


Colts at Packers (video)

Great plays make for great calls. Donte Moncrief of the Colts makes a great spinning, over the shoulder catch for a touchdown. Side judge Rob Vernatchi is at the pylon to make sure Moncrief gets both feet down and completes the process of the catch.

Mark Schultz
Sun Nov 6 • 7:56 pm EST


Saints at 49ers (video)

Mike Davis fumbles at the one yard line and the Saints recover. Good instincts by field judge Eugene Hall to hold the whistle as the goal line was involved.  

It is so crucial for the officials to not blow their whistle until they see the ball dead in possession of a player. Had the back judge or side judge seen the player on the ground, assumed no fumble and blew the whistle, it would have been a huge mistake.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 7:43 pm EST


Colts at Packers (video)

caddyshack-croRather than risk a palpably unfair act by a rodent, officials stopped the game while the Lambeau Field grounds crew attempted to corral a squirrel running around in the end zone.  

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 7:36 pm EST


Saints at 49ers (video)

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick fumbled the snap on a 4th-and-5 play. The ball squirts forward and is recovered beyond the line of scrimmage by the Saints.

Similar to the Giants blocked field goal return (see entry below), the snap is a backward pass, so Kaepernick’s muffed snap is not a fumble. Even though it is fourth down, any player from the 49ers may recover and advance the ball. If Kaepernick takes possession and then fumbles, he is the only player allowed to advance the fumble.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 7:03 pm EST


Cowboys at Browns (video)

A great call and communication: On a 10-yard run to the pylon by Cowboys running back  Ezekiel Elliott, side judge Dyrol Prioleau and head linesman Jerry Bergman have a long discussion if Elliot was out of bounds prior to crossing the plane of the goal. Bergman can clearly be seen saying that Elliot’s hand touched out of bounds and Prioleau having the angle on the goal line. The call on the field was a touchdown without any intervention from replay needed.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 6:51 pm EST


Jets at Dolphins (video)

Jets receiver Robby Anderson caught a pass at the 13-yard line, and got up off the ground to score a touchdown. On replay review, Anderson was touched on the helmet after he initially secured control of the ball (even thought the catch process was continuing), which makes him down by contact at the 13.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 6:45 pm EST


Eagles at Giants (video)

On a potential Odell Beckham Jr. catch, Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll III strips the ball. If a Beckham catch is ruled and he is on the ground, no defensive player can take the ball from him, because he would be down by contact as a result. Referee Bill Vinovich announced that the ruling was that the catch process by Beckham was not completed, therefore Carroll has an interception, not a fumble recovery. This narrowed the scope of the replay review which allowed the call — correctly done in real time — to stand.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 6:04 pm EST


Eagles at Giants (video)

You make the call. Giants linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul blocked an Eagles field goal, which was scooped up by teammate Janoris Jenkins. On the return Jenkins attempted to lateral the ball, but it was unsuccessful. Giants linebacker Matt Herzlich  recovered the ball 7 yards downfield. The play occurred after the two-minute warning. If Jenkins loses the ball at the Giants 46-yard line  and Herzlich recovers at the Eagles 47, where is the ball spotted?

On this play, the fourth-down and two-minute fumble rules are in effect. When the possession changes hands on the blocked kick recovery, the fourth-down fumble rule is off the table for the remainder of the down; the two-minute fumble rule remains in effect. However, Jenkins is correctly ruled to have attempted a backward pass, rather than fumbled. (This distinction is not made for statistical purposes; it is recorded as a fumble at the press-box level.) In this case, it is a legal recovery of a muffed backward pass, and the Giants are entitled to the ball at the Eagles 47. Had the crew ruled it a fumble, the ball would have reverted back to the Giants 46 under the two-minute fumble rule.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 4:49 pm EST


Steelers at Ravens (video)

Well, this is not something you see everyday! From the official scorekeeper:

C.Boswell kicks onside 1 yard from PIT 35 to PIT 36, downed by PIT-C.Boswell. Penalty on PIT-C.Boswell, Illegally Kicking Ball, declined.

Steelers kicker Chris Boswell whiffed the onside kick attempt by a weird sleight-of-foot maneuver. The ball rolled off the tee and came to a rest. (The scorekeeper was being generous to give Boswell even a yard.) Boswell then kicked the ball on the ground, which is an illegal kick. There is also a second foul, which is illegally touching the ball before it travels 10 yards.

Because the illegal kick was prior to the change of possession, the foul can only be enforced on a rekick. The illegal touch penalty also allows the receiving team to enforce the penalty from the dead-ball spot, or to take the ball at the touch spot. Therefore, the illegal kick was declined and the illegal touch was accepted, taking the ball at the 36.

Boswell was able to execute this onside kick play in 2013 when he played for Rice University.

Patrick Weber
Sun Nov 6 • 4:18 pm EST


Jaguars at Chiefs (video)

In the fourth quarter of the game in Kansas City, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was assessed two unsportsmanlike fouls on the same play and subsequently disqualified. After an incomplete pass in the endzone, Kelce was penalized first for arguing with the officials after a pass interference non-call. When he realized that he had been flagged, Kelce threw his towel at field judge Mike Weatherford, and was flagged again for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both of these fouls count towards automatic ejection so Kelce was ejected. Since both of these fouls are also fouls against an official they are both enforced and 30 yards of penalties were assessed against the Chiefs. This is the third time the new rule for automatic ejection has been invoked this year.  


Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 4:03 pm EST


Lions at Vikings (video)


Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford had his pass deflected back to him. Bradford snatched the ball out of the air and ran for 5 yards.

Bradford is an eligible receiver by virtue of the fact he is in the shotgun formation. (A quarterback lined up under center is not.) However, when the ball is tipped, all players, including linemen, are eligible. Bradford is able to catch and run only. A second forward pass, even though it is behind the line of scrimmage, is not allowed.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 3:27 pm EST


Eagles at Giants (video)

Giants safety Landon Collins made contact with Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis on a second quarter field goal. There was no flag thrown on the play.

Although there is a good case for a flag, it appears that referee Bill Vinovich is ruling that Collins was off balance as a result of a block on the line. Roughing or running into the kicker is not called when a kicking team block causes the defender to make contact or reduce his ability to avoid contact. Whether Collins rolled too far creating avoidable contact despite the block is a judgement call.

In this case, the flag would be for running into the kicker and not roughing. Since the Eagles field goal was on 4th-and-15, they would only get five yards and it would still be fourth down. Even if the flag was thrown, it would have been declined, because the Eagles would not have a reasonable trade-off to take the field goal off the board.


Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 1:51 pm EST


Cowboys at Browns (video)

For the second time in three weeks, Jeff Triplette’s crew has ejected at least two players from the same game; the latest was very early in the first quarter.

Browns center Cameron Erving and Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving began fighting on an incomplete pass two minutes into the game. Follow along, this is going to get confusing. The Browns’ Erving ripped Irving’s helmet off and threw it at him. This is an automatic ejection for using a helmet as a weapon: if you slam your helmet to the ground, it is not an ejection, but throw it at a player, regardless of how hard the throw is, and it is an ejection.

Irving’s contribution seemed minimal, but when the camera focused on the combatants, Erving was already on the ground. I would guess that a punch was thrown to warrant an automatic ejection.

Triplette’s crew tossed three players from the Jaguars-Raiders game two weeks ago.

Ben Austro
Sun Nov 6 • 12:00 pm EST


Today’s officials


  • U 124 Carl Paganelli* to Steratore’s crew (JAX-KC)
  • U 81 Roy Ellison* to McAulay’s crew (CAR-LA)
  • LJ 90 Mike Spanier to Boger’s crew (NO-SF)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Walt Coleman’s  crew (NYJ-MIA)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.

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28 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 9

  1. To Ed “H”
    Your crew your responsibility… illegal hands to the face?
    Maybe illegal hands to the shoulder. If you’re not in a position that affords you a visual on player contact I suggest that you error on the side of caution and pick up the flag…even if it means that the viewers know that you made a mistake… it’s no big deal because everyone already knows that to be true…the American public is REALLY not that stupid…WE DO WATCH FOX NEWS!!!
    Now Edward I’m calling on you to do the right thing… convene a grand jury, review the film, issue subpoenas and prove to the American public that the ZEBRAS is not a criminal organization and in no way affiliated with the Clinton Foundation.

  2. There is so much inconsistency between the different officiating crews. The NFL need full time officials and they need to work together. One crew calls offensive holding all day while the next crew does not. The same for defensive holding. Forward progress is another issue. In the Pittsburgh game today, late in the game forward progress was clearly stopped and the clock should had kept running but the Steeler receiver breaks free backwards and runs out of bounds and the clock stops. The crews need to all call it the same way!

  3. I disagree ! Simply get the BEST officials, regardless of “KIN or SKIN” and let them do what they do . Too many officials are passed over to make the NFL PC correct – we all know this. There are officials in the NFL who should not be on the field and would have problems doing College D – 3. There are superb college officials doing major college games who have NO chance of getting to the NFL because inferior officials are being pushed and hired so the NFL does not have Sharpton and those ilk claiming bias and discrimination. It’s a shame- it really is.

  4. Missed the Jets Dolphins game… but saw the actions by Calvin Pryor that earned a 15 yard taunting penalty.

    Question, which official threw that flag?

    Richard Sherman is right. They are taking the fun from the league.

    Simply unacceptable.

  5. If a player’s heel hits the line, but moving forward his toe is still on the ground and clearly off the line – does that count as one of the two feet needed to re-establish position?

    SNF – DEN @ OAK. (4:34 – 3rd) M.King punts 40 yards to DEN 2, Center-J.Condo, downed by OAK-T.Jones. PENALTY on DEN-T.Nixon, Offensive Holding, 1 yard, enforced at DEN 2

    The OAK gunner (who downs the ball) steps on the goal line with his heel. As he moves forward his toes are the only thing touching the ground and are clearly off the line. His next foot touches the ground in bounds and then he touches the ball. Ruling on the field is downed at the 2. The TV crew thinks it should be a touchback. The call hinges on that first foot. Can the same foot touch once out of bounds also be part of reestablishing inbounds?

  6. No, 2 feet must reestablish, which means 2 steps (or a body part that is not a foot, ankle, hand, or wrist). Very tight call that is only apparent when NBC digitally zoomed the replay, but Denver should have challenged.

  7. Holy cow, I was at Melt Life yesterday, so I missed the Jets game, but I have now seen the highlights on the local news. The taunting penalty on Calvin Pryor is beyond puzzling. For what? Now you know why Richard Sherman calls out Commissioner Goodell for making the game no fun! Richard, by the way, is a really nice young man underneath the flash and bluster.

    Now, I expect some (perhaps, a dipshiit like “al”) to defend the official. They will say the league is cracking down on taunting, so any call is justified. Really? The officials turned a 2nd and 15 into a first and ten. The officials injected themselves in to the outcome of the game. This is wholly unacceptable! The young man brushed his jersey. Quite frankly, looked like the signal for lineman reporting as eligible to game. How or why is that a penalty?

    Now, there are times when calls for unsportsmanlike are legit – such as when Odell removed his helmet on the field of play after scoring the winning TD vs the Ravens. This was a clear cut violation of a rule designed to protect the players. Odell knows that was a selfish play.

    As a fan, I can expect the officials to miss a bang bang play near a sideline that is happening fast. That is why we have replay. However, I can’t accept officials inserting themselves into the outcome of games with their subjective calls on emotion. It’s bad for the league.

    The official who threw this flag deserves a serious demerit.

  8. Ben-

    With regards to the Pryor “penalty”, you claim the foul was for some unseen taunting action? You mean to tell me that CBS had cameras set up all over the stadium and not one camera caught this “penalty” by Calvin Pryor?? Are you serious? And, on top of that you do not name the official who threw the flag. FYI, just because Jeff Rice was giving Walt Coleman the jersey number means nothing. All the officials help each other in determining who threw the flag, who the infraction was on and what the infraction was.

    You can’t use the excuse of some unseen action. This is not a high school game with one camera. By the way, of course Pryor has his head hung… the official just gave (key word GAVE) the Dolphins a first down and cited #25 as the reason.

    Until you can provide film of some other action by Pryor, an unnamed official made an unforgivable mistake. By the way, the Dolphins scored on the next play… so the outcome of the game was affected.

    Here is what you need to do – identify the actual penalty in video and if you are unable to provide the tape… you must name the official. That official deserves a severe penalty for his shoddy work. If you continue to defend the indefensible, you will appear to be a shill for bad officiating. Which is a damned shame, because most of the guys wearing NFL stripes are very good.

  9. My main problem with the “Taunting” is that it is completely up to the official at that time. And I can understand it if they are trying to control a game that is/might be getting “chippy”.

    Last season (or it may have been two) a Steeler player was called for taunting while standing over his own man with no opponent around.

    EVERY season, at least once a week, Steve Smith Sr. trash talks after a catch, get’s in the defender’s face, or brabs the defender by the jersey and holds him down or drags him around and I don’t think he’s ever been called for a “taunting” penalty.

  10. Ben-
    When a player (Calvin Pryor) tackles a running back (Jay Ajayi)behind the LOS it is known as a tackle for loss (TFL). Sack refers only to a TFL on a QB.

    More importantly, the crew gets no pass until someone has video evidence of an actual taunt worthy of a flag.

  11. Is this really going to be like what we put referee Esfandiar Baharmast through at the 1998 World Cup, where he correctly gave a penalty for a holding call that no one else saw? (video later surfaced confirming the call) He said that was the worst 24 hours of his life.

    I recently had a parent come up to me after a game and yell in my face about how all my calls were against her kid’s team. Asked me if I sit in front of the TV and watch sports all day and learn how to ref there. I just let her yell because that’s all she can do. Her team won the game, but she still felt like yelling at me.

    Moral of the story: Some people will never be pleased.

  12. @ Lisa – you are right on target. Get the best no matter who or what they are. That is what made the NFL officials the best group for many years but now has changed it dramatically. Poor Art McNally, he must be crushed.

    Was the unsportsmanlike foul in the Jet game a verbal taunt that isn’t seen on camera but heard by the official? When trash talking goes too far it could start something that can get out of control.

  13. al

    It would appear that the infraction was just the brushing gesture. Ben is putting forth the idea that there was some unseen gesture that led to a flag. It must be considered that some official just made a mistake and pulled a flag when he should not have.

    I have heard from a friend who would know, that the NFL officials have tolerated the most heinous speech on field for years. In fact, it seems they never flag anyone for language. He said if they did … the game would be stopped every play for use of ethnic and gay slurs.

  14. That maybe and most likely is true for what happened in the past, but it appears they powers have instructed the officials to clean it up and that is what has lead to the flags. Troy Vincent had an interesting interview last week on Sirus radio regarding fouls and unsportsmanlike in particular. Check it out.

  15. I will go with my buddy Richard Sherman and agree that the league brass is taking the fun out of the game.

    Until I see some proof that something else happened, there is no justifying the call against Pryor.

  16. Ok, so now EVERYONE will rough the passer if there are only a few seconds left because it is only offsides. Hurt the kicker so he has to leave the game. People are not watching the NFL because of crooked officiating and arrogant millionaires who whine about disrespect. Disgusting!

  17. One of the WORST calls I have ever seen is in tonights Monday night football with the Seahawks and the Bills. At the end of the first half Sherman was offsides and rushed the kicker unabated and about broke his leg. He only got an offsides penalty not a personal foul like he should have. Then the ref’s penalized the Bills by not allowing the kicker to kick the field goal, then penalized the Bills for delay of game when the official didn’t back away from the ball on the line until 5 seconds were left on the play clock. The Bills had already made the field goal. When the Bills kicked the ball after the penalty they missed it. I don’t care about each team. Just watching for fun but that was the absolute worst call I have ever seen. The refs should be fined and suspended for 3 games.

  18. Roger: I have to agree with you. They really blew this situation. Seems like the ‘R’s with double numbers had a rough weekend. #66 blew it last night and #77 blew it when he failed to protect Cam. Might be time for the powers to suspend officials for flagrant misses like this vs. losing meaningless time on the clock like they did with Vernacci last year. College officials get suspended for less!

  19. al
    Why do you hate Terry? Why do you insert him into this? What did he do to you?

    Let’s attempt to focus here. The official who penalized Pryor with a 15 yard taunting penalty made a bad call. It altered the course of the game. This is a problem for the NFL. It has to stop.

  20. TQ NYG: What are you talking about? I’m making a comment on two different situations were IMO the referees messed up. It just happens to include Terry, not my fault he missed the fouls, it’s HIS, in spite of the fact he knew going into the game that hits on ‘this QB’ were going to be scrutinized! Can you say arrogance?
    take a look at these links and see what you think afterwards.
    When Blandino is told to back off calling taunting by Goodell, he will tell the officials. Until then, expect the calls.
    PS are you related to Terry? Kissin cousins!

    It’s still OK to clobber Cam Newton’s head, apparently

    USA Today Sports For The Win · 1 day ago

    Cam Newton … matchup with the Rams, and many assumed the officials would be on alert for questionable hits on the 2015 MVP. Let’s check in …

    Did Panthers’ Cam Newton take another questionable hit vs. Rams? ‘There was one of concern’

    The State South Carolina’s Homepage · 1 day ago

    After Sunday’s game in Los Angeles, neither Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton nor head coach Ron Rivera … And on …

    Refs miss at least one roughing the passer call on Cam Newton on Sunday

    Refs miss at least one roughing the passer call on Cam Newton on Sunday

    CBS Sports · 1 day ago

    Sunday’s game between the Rams and Panthers was unsurprisingly … Barron’s

  21. Al- Terry had nothing to do with the aforementioned situation. You are obsessed with the guy.

    The issue at hand is why the officials are throwing questionable flags for taunting. Why do they feel the need to insert themselves into the outcome of a game? Are the officials weak … or are they instructed from the league office. It it is the latter, the owners better start replacing the league brass!

  22. TQ/NYG
    I’m obsessed with good officiating and when two veteran officials/referees embarrass ‘us’ I comment.
    #66 needs to be sat down for his mechanical mistake of not pumping up the play clock and costing the Bills a chance at what would’ve been a game tying field goal and his judgmental mistake of not calling an unnecessary roughness call on Sherman. Unlike a DPI call, this was blatantly a foul and one even YOU a fan could see.
    Then #77 failure to protect the QB in the Rams game was another example of his arrogance or maybe his inability to officiate the game. The hits on Cam were fouls no matter what you think, plus the league had made a point of addressing it before the game. If you watched NFL Live on Sunday they made a huge point of how Cam should be expecting protection and it didn’t happen. On Tuesdays NFL Live the panel of ex-players all agreed the hits were illegal and there were defensive players saying this.

    As for Taunting fouls, OF COURSE, the league is telling the officials to be more diligent in making these calls, it’s a point of emphasis and unlike some who disregard what they are told to do (guess who) most are following their BOSS’s orders.

  23. Sorry TQ, but Al isn’t wrong in this case. With all the shots that Newton has taken this season, it is surprising that a borderline hit on him isn’t called as RTP.

    That said, I’m sure Al is objective enough to note that other officials have missed RTP hits on Newton as well this season, not just last week.

  24. @ Wade: to answer your question, ABSOLUTELY! if Tony Steratore didn’t miss them early it, there may not have been an issue. My issue is the Referee this week (guess who) had fair warning and a GOOD referee would’ve heeded that warning and protected the player and he would have been a HERO vs a GOAT! I stand by my earlier statement, #77 is overrated!

  25. Wade…

    Regardless of the situation, Al finds a way to bring MacAulay up. He has some weird obsession with the guy.

    I am sick of the officials looking for incidents of the personal foul variety. What was it that Kelce of KC got booted from a game for the other day? It is obvious some genius on Park Avenue has decided this is a good idea. Probably the same genius who though suspending Tom Brady for ball psi was a good idea!

  26. Re: Boswell’s kick. The only question I have is: Did the refs prematurely blow the whistle? (I’m pretty sure I hears whistles AFTER Boswell’s second kick but BEFORE the ball is recovered.) Or are the whistling the play dead at the second kick because it’s an illegal touch? If the kicking team touches the ball before it goes 10 yards, is the play blown dead?

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