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Quick calls: Week 14

Liveblog coverage of the calls and rules interpretations in Week 14.

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Keep checking here for rolling coverage throughout the day on Sunday. If you see anything confusing, unusual, or controversial, please let us know.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Dec 11 • 7:41 pm EST

  

Bears at Lions

With 7:48 left in the 2nd quarter, umpire Shawn Smith threw a flag for illegal hands to the face. While the foul was reported  as being charged to Lions center Graham Glasgow (#60), it should have been the result of actions by Chicago defensive nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Triplette and crew erroneously enforced the 10-yard penalty on the Lions, and wiped out the 14 yard run on the play.

https://twitter.com/DetroitVideos/status/808020959856889857

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 5:44 pm EST

  

Vikings at Jaguars  

Vikings running back Matt Asiata was ruled short of the goal line on third down, and the call was upheld in replay.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 11:44 pm EST

  

Cardinals at Dolphins (video)

The Cardinals scored the fourth “4-point touchdown” under the new conversion rules (+6 points, then -2 points) when the Dolphins returned a blocked extra-point kick for a defensive two.

Mark Schultz
Sun Dec 11 • 11:26 pm EST

  

Bears at Lions (video)

Back-to-back holding fouls on the Bears take the team out of field goal range. The first one was thrown by Jeff Triplette and I can see why he threw the flag.

The second flag was thrown by umpire Shawn Smith. I would have kept the flag in my pocket, but I’m not in the NFL. It will be interesting to hear what, if anything, Dean Blandino has to say.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 9:55 pm EST

  

Cowboys at Giants (video)

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott fumbled the ball, which was recovered by lineman Doug Free, who got up and ran with the ball, getting within field goal range. The Giants challenged the call, and Free was touched by a Giants player’s foot while on the ground, which makes Free down by contact and nullifying the advance.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 9:47 pm EST

  

Saints at Buccaneers (video)

This is not a high wire act, but the acrobatics by the Buccaneers to keep this punt from going into the end zone are incredible.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 9:28 pm EST

  

Cardinals at Dolphins (video)

Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell tackled Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he released the pass. Tannehill was injured and had to leave the game. This was a forcible blow to the knee area, which is a foul for roughing the passer, even though it was not a late hit.

Update: Previously, I stated this was not a foul, based on the replay angle that partially obscured the engagement by Campbell. The live shot clearly shows the low trajectory of the tackle, that it was a forcible blow that could have been avoided, and there are no mitigating factors, such as being blocked into the contact. There is no question it should have been flagged.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 9:20 pm EST

  

Cardinals at Dolphins (video)

As the game was played in a progressively heavier downpour, umpire Roy Ellison must provide the center with a dry ball when ready for play. Clearly it is a losing battle.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 8:22 pm EST

  

Cardinals at Dolphins (video)

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill attempts a swing pass, but a wet football can sometimes have a mind of its own. Since the ball landed behind the spot where Tannehill released the pass, it is a backward pass. If there was defensive contact that altered the flight of the ball, a backward pass can be ruled incomplete if the pass was clearly intended to go forward. Without the contact, the intended target is not a factor.

Mark Schultz
Sun Dec 11 • 8:15 pm EST

  

Chargers at Panthers (video)

No close goal line call on this safety! Ron Torbert on the call.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 7:36 pm EST

  

Chargers at Panthers (video)

The Chargers are flagged for a false start, and quarterback Philip Rivers does a behind-the-back spike to make sure he’s not pursued on a dead ball. I can’t tell exactly what was said, but the response to the call drew a smile from referee Ron Torbert.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 7:31 pm EST

  

Chargers at Panthers (video)

Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart runs down the sideline and is brought down as he tumbles over a defender and his helmet contacts the ground.

Or did it?

To everyone’s surprise, Stewart keeps running after the somersault and is later brought down. Replay showed that Stewart’s helmet rolled over the defender’s leg and foot, but never contacted the ground. But, more significantly, it revealed that line judge Mike Steinkerchner was hyperaware of the situation and did not accidentally blow the play dead early. Both Stewart and Steinkerchner made one hell of a play.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 7:17 pm EST

  

Falcons at Rams (video)

Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. recovers a fumble and runs it back for a third-quarter touchdown. Beasley immediately leaps to dunk the football over the crossbar, and as he nears the apex, he apparently remembers: dunking over the goalpost is a foul. The graceful leap ends in a flop.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 6:21 pm EST

  

Saints at Buccaneers

After mishandling the kickoff and being tackled for a safety on consecutive plays, the ensuing free  kick by the Buccaneers goes out of bounds. On safety kicks, the receiving team gets the ball 30 yards from the spot of the kick (50-yard line when kicked from the 20); standard kickoffs are 25 yards from the kick spot. In all cases, if the out-of-bounds spot is inside that range, the kicking team can take the out-of-bounds spot.

Cameron Filipe
Sun Dec 11 • 5:50 pm EST

  

Saints at Buccaneers (video)

Numerous officiating highlights in just two plays. On a kickoff following a New Orleans field goal, the ball bounced up into the facemask of Tampa Bay kick returner Josh Huff, and it rolled out of bounds inside the Bucs’ one-yard line near the pylon. Line judge Byron Boston immediately ruled that the ball would be placed at that spot for the ensuing drive. If the ball had hit the pylon or had gone out of bounds in the end zone, there would have been a touchback, and Tampa Bay would have started at their own 25-yard line. The clock continued to run inadvertently after the whistle was blown, and referee Walt Anderson announced for a reset of the game clock.

On the very next play, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin was swarmed in the end zone for a safety. The play was reviewed by the replay official to determine whether or not Martin was able to leave the end zone, but the ruling was returned by Anderson as “stands”.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Dec 11 • 5:18 pm EST

  

Seahawks at Packers

While on offense, Seahawks tackle Bradley Sowell jumped, drawing the flag for a false start. Packers  defensive tackle Datone Jones, who jumped  at Sowell’s movement, subsequently shoved Sowell, drawing a flag for a personal foul. The “5 vs. 15” penalty enforcement principle applies here. If a 15-yard foul occurs at the same time as a “simple 5” (5-yard penalties without an automatic first down, loss of down, 10-second runoff, etc), the 15-yard penalty is enforced while the 5-yard is ignored. Therefore, the false start (a simple 5) was ignored, and the 15-yard penalty was enforced.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 4:51 pm EST

  

Falcons at Rams (video)

The opening kickoff is muffed by Rams returner Michael Thomas. Since the Rams never possess the ball, the play remains a kick until someone possesses the ball. Once the Falcons possess the ball, it is a dead ball; any time the kicking team possesses any kicked ball, the play is dead. In the case of a kickoff, it is a live ball, so the Falcons get possession at the 3.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 4:35 pm EST

  

Broncos at Titans (video 1 | video 2)

A legal, but very questionable, cut block was administered by Titans receiver Harry Douglas on cornerback Chris Harris Jr.

Harris’s teammate Aqib Talib retaliated on the next down, engaging in a post-play shoving match with Douglas. A scrum ensued, but absent any flagrant actions in that scrum, the officials are going to enforce the initiating action and avoid offsetting fouls. Talib’s actions were not flagrant enough to warrant an ejection

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 3:50 pm EST

  

Steelers at Bills (video)

The grounds crew attempted to clear the snow off the frozen tundra in Buffalo. While it may have seemed to be a good idea on paper, the snow brushes actually kicked up the rubberized pellets of the FieldTurf surface — oddly reminiscent of the field issue that canceled the Hall of Fame game. Referee Pete Morelli delayed the start of the third quarter as the clumps of rubber were cleared from the field. Initially, piles were lined up on the sideline, but this is still a hazard with an uneven surface and inconsistent traction  going out of bounds.

The Bills issued a statement admitting they had  brushed the surface too hard.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Dec 11 • 3:38 pm EST

  

Redskins at Eagles

As Eagles punt returner  Darren Sproles looked to catch a punt, Redskins safety Deshazor Everett led with his shoulder and hit Sproles as his concentration was on the ball. Everett earned a  personal foul for interference with the opportunity to catch a kick. This does not count towards Everett’s 2 fouls toward disqualification.

Sproles’ teammates rushed to defend him and a scuffle ensued, but Corrente’s crew managed to keep the teams separated and save additional penalty yardage.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Dec 11 • 3:32 pm EST

  

Redskins at Eagles

In the 4th quarter, Redskins receiver Jameson Crowder reached for a catch on the sideline. It was ruled a catch on the field, but after review it was ruled an incomplete pass. Crowder’s left foot was down, but came off the ground before the ball arrived. Therefore, with only one foot down, the call was overturned to an incomplete pass.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Dec 11 • 3:19 pm EST

  

Redskins at Eagles (video)

Late in the 3rd quarter, DeSean Jackson (playing for the Redskins, not to be confused with his former team as opponents) made an acrobatic catch  on the sideline. The play went to review. It seemed to be a clear “confirm”, yet the decision from replay was “stands.” The potential deliberation was if the left foot came off the ground before the catch was secured. Even so, with the ability to slow it down in replay, it was clearly a catch.   This continues the obvious trend  toward preferring the  “stands” verdict this season.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 3:19 pm EST

  

Cardinals at Dolphins (video)

Cardinals safety Marcus Cooper and Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills are fighting for possession of a pass. The ruling on the field was Cooper got the interception.

This is  not a call of simultaneous possession. Since Cooper has secured the ball first — or, in other words, his catch process started first — he is awarded possession if he is able to complete the process of the catch. It is incredibly close, but the simultaneous possession does not get invoked unless it is undetectable as to who controlled the ball first. When simultaneous is ruled on any loose ball, the tie goes to the team last in possession, or to the receiving team on kicks.

Cooper also loses the interception if he loses control of the ball during the catch process, as this would reset the catch process to Step 1.

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 2:18 pm EST

  

Broncos at  Titans (video)

On a botched play, Titans tight end Delanie Walker caught a pass and ran along the sideline to the end zone. However, Walker was ruled to have stepped out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Even though the play naturally carried into the end zone, replay cannot intervene to add extra post-whistle action to the play, with the allowable exception is the immediate recovery of a loose ball. However …

When there is a play at the goal line, a reversal is possible if there is only one more in-bounds step prior to an effort to get to the end zone. This is an officiating mechanic not delineated in the rulebook, but the official interpretation is that “a step and a leap” to the end zone may be allowed in replay. Since the plane of the goal is also a reviewable element, the rationale is that the goal line review takes precedence when both the goal line and sideline are in play. Thus, replay could not give the Titans the 1-yard line on a step-and-leap review, only the touchdown.

Referee John Parry announced that “multiple steps” could not be added in replay, and he is correct on that aspect. But, this was the rationale to disallow the challenge by the Titans. Even though replay is technically not able to assist until replay is actually invoked, there is some wiggle room for the replay official to prompt the field officials to consider if there were multiple steps. This actually saved Titans coach Mike Mularkey a challenge, as officiating senior vice president Dean Blandino tweeted “foot at sideline not definitive,” which means they would have gone with “stands.”

Ben Austro
Sun Dec 11 • 12:44 pm EST

  

Today’s officials

Substitutions

  • U 81 Roy Ellison* to Boger’s  crew (AZ-MIA)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Parry’s crew (DEN-TEN)
  • SJ  89 Jon Lucivansky* and BJ 63 Jim Quirk to Morelli’s  crew (PIT-BUF)
  • BJ 78 Greg Meyer to Cheffers’ crew (DAL-NYG/night)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.

 

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