Posted September 10, 2013

Controversial call on Michael Vick backwards pass results in Redskins touchdown

NFC East, Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly's offense run by Michael Vick is nifty, but it's hardly new. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Chip Kelly’s offense, run by Michael Vick, was electric early, but a small error turned into a major problem. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Eagles’ opening drive Monday night against the Redskins was everything football fans have come to expect from Chip Kelly: frantic, exciting, furiously up-tempo. And the Eagles were on the brink of cashing that possession in for six points, until a bizarre and controversial play resulted in a touchdown in the other direction.

On first-and-goal from the Redskins’ four-yard line, Michael Vick attempted to swing a pass out to LeSean McCoy, who was looping around out of the backfield. Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan got his hand in the way, though, batting Vick’s pass to the ground. Kerrigan’s teammate, DeAngelo Hall, then scooped it up and sauntered 75 or so yards to the Philadelphia end zone for a stunning defensive touchdown.

The ruling on the field was that Vick’s pass had been thrown backwards, thus making it a fumble when Kerrigan deflected it. After a lengthy video review, referee Ron Winter declared that the play would stand — meaning that there was not enough evidence to confirm the call on the field, nor was there anything to overturn it and give the ball back to Philadelphia.

Here’s a GIF of the play, via SBNation:

Several of the replays shown by ESPN made it appear as if Vick had thrown the ball forward. ESPN’s officiating guru, former NFL ref Gerry Austin, declared that he thought Vick had thrown from the 9 1/2-yard line and Kerrigan had made contact with the ball at “about the 9-and-one-quarter” mark.

However, at least one of the angles offered gave the impression of a backwards pass — and that’s enough, given the ruling on the field. Without conclusive evidence to reverse the call, Winter stuck with the crew’s initial ruling, giving the season’s first Monday night game a very unusual beginning.

18 comments
Thomas15
Thomas15

Have to remember, even if you hate Vick for whatever reason, including the dog thing, that does NOT change the laws of physics. The pass was forward of Vick when it hit the D-lineman's arm. It was a FORWARD pass. Refs were intimidated by it being MNF and home field of Skins. Most likely 14 point swing on missed call there. The Technology that can handle that kind of play is out there. NFL should make the investment. 

Lez215
Lez215

How it that a fumble and QBs are allowed to spike the ball to kill the clock and that generally takes place behind the center who definitely lines up behind the line of scrimmage. 

This was a league office phantom call to keep Shanahan relevant in a game with millions of fans watching around America. 


How would it look to have Chip Kelly the wonderkid come into the league and dismantle Shanahan on the season opening MNF, a game widely anticipated by Fans and Pundits everywhere? 

Charlie20
Charlie20

Sorry for the typo. iyt = it

Charlie20
Charlie20

i converted the vid to QuickTime and played iyt frame by frame. It was definitely a forward pass, not a lateral. That blown call caused a 14-point swing and could have cost the Eagles the game.

ScudAg56
ScudAg56

One rule change I'd like to see is that ANY ball that doesn't cross the line of scrimmage in the air is a live ball. This removes all doubt about this type of play, is-the-QB's-arm-in-motion crap, dropped shovel passes, and stupid spiking of the ball to stop the clock. Doesn't cross the line - it is same as a fumble. Real.simple.football.

BlairELConquistadorMcKee
BlairELConquistadorMcKee

That was such a poorly played game - so many penalties & mistakes. The last "drive" by Washington was a disgrace, a travesty. at HOME! 

Phil22
Phil22

Missed call. If they whistled it incomplete, that would have stood as well. Refs too afraid to blow their whistle unless someone gets hit in the head.

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Jon8
Jon8

It was the correct call!

Carl MacIntyre
Carl MacIntyre

The Refs clearly had an agenda. Nine out of ten calls went against the Eagles including this clear incomplete pass.

BillCampbell
BillCampbell

It was obviously a forward pass. The refs blew it. 

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Man that rg3 guy is sooooo awesome.  i'm glad he is "not below 100%, but maybe 100%, but your body doesn't know".  I can't wait to go eat Subway and be like him.  I hope he tweets at halftime his progress !

j7apple
j7apple

@Jon8  Are you one of the refs by chance?  or someone with very bad eyesight?

moezer
moezer

@WHO*IS*ESPN You do not know what you are talking about.  He played bad the whole game.  Obviously not 100%.

Jon8
Jon8

Korean restaurants take it very seriously!