Wrapping up some odds and ends from week 14, we cover some of the least touched-on calls from week 14 of the NFL season.
In the Patriots-Ravens Monday night game, the Patriots received a clock reset before the snap. The umpire was hovering over the ball until they were 17 seconds left on the play clock. Brady appeared to give the pump signal for a fresh clock reset and referee Ed Hochuli gave the pump signal to the clock operator for a 25-second reset. This is a common occurrence, and it is the referee’s discretion if he finds that the offense might be disadvantaged. The exception is if offense does a late substitution, then there is no reset even if the defense does not substitute in time.
In the second part of the gif below from the all-22 film, you can see Brady motion after Hochuli has already signaled to the clock operator, and this is perfectly within officiating practice.
Another play generating some chatter occurred in the Seahawks-Packers game. On a pass play, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman put a hit on Packers receiver Devante Adams that appears at first glance to be illegal. The play was not flagged and slow motion shows that Sherman hit Adams from an angle in the shoulder area as quarterback Aaron Rodgers released the ball.
Even though they were away from the play, it would not be considered unnecessary roughness since Adams was still technically an active player and could have become a blocker. Had the pass gone to Adams, this would have been defensive pass interference, but since it is uncatchable for Adams, there is no interference. Sherman is a smart player who knows the rules, realized the pass was not going to Adams, and timed the hit perfectly to the quarterback’s release.
UPDATE: Per ESPN, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman was fined for his hit on Packers receiver Devante Adams. Characterized as a “repeat offender,” Sherman was fined $18,231. It’s worth noting that a different part of the NFL’s Football Operations rules on the fines. For the most part, there is coordination with the Officiating Department. The hit was categorized under general unnecessary roughness and is entirely a judgment call, with Jon Runyan making the call on roughness fines. The hit was clean within the rules but the league prioritizes and maintains discretion over player safety.
We’ve covered excessive celebration more in depth here, but after a score, a player may celebrate if (1) it is not a choreographed celebration with two or more players, and (2) he does not use the ball as a prop in a celebration. In the game with the Titans, Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders appeared to use the ball as a prop as he wound up like pitcher in baseball would and threw the ball at the wall. The Broncos received an unsportsmanlike that was enforced on the kickoff, moving the ball back to the Broncos 20-yard line for the kick.
Finally, in the Jaguars-Vikings game, the Jaguars received a delay of game penalty on the kickoff after it appeared the kicker was waiting for one last kicking team player to get into the correct position on the field for the kick. During a free kick, the play clock runs while the back judge gives the kicker the ball, and they have roughly 10-15 seconds to kick off after the referee gives the ready signal (something that kicker Brad Daluiso forgot about in Super Bowl XXVI). There are times that the play clock can go past zero on a kickoff when, in the official’s discretion, something happens out of routine. This is to done to keep things moving and not have a full 25 on a kickoff.
The Jaguars found that limit, as we are hard pressed to find an instance where the kicking team was assessed a delay of game on the kickoff.
Images: NFL Game Pass.