Posted September 10, 2013

VP of officiating: Key penalty in Chargers-Texans game shouldn’t have been called

AFC South, AFC West, Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers, Uncategorized
Cam Thomas probably wasn't too happy with the NFL's explanation of his non-penalty. (AP/Kathy Willens)

Cam Thomas probably wasn’t too happy with the NFL’s explanation of his non-penalty. (AP/Kathy Willens)

As it turns out, the San Diego Chargers have one more item to add to their Tuesday Agony List. Not only did the Chargers blow a 28-7 third-quarter lead against the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football to lose 31-28, but one crucial penalty that allowed the Texans to extend one of their comeback drives should not have happened.

The play happened with 14:53 left in the game, and the Chargers up 28-14. Texans kicker Randy Bullock booted a 37-yard field goal, but Chargers defensive lineman Cam Thomas was flagged for unnecessary roughness when it was ruled that he instigated contact with Texans long-snapper John Weeks. The NFL’s new rule is designed to prevent blatant contact to the head and neck area to defenseless snappers on kicks, a new NFL point of emphasis. The penalty took the ball from the San Diego 19-yard line to the nine-yard line and gave the Texans a new set of downs. Matt Schaub threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels on the next play, and the comeback continued.

But in an interview with the NFL Network’s “Total Access” show on Tuesday. NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino revealed that the penalty should not have been called by Scott Green’s crew.

“This was not a correct call,” Blandino said. “The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown/forehead/hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.”

Blandino then walked the viewing audience through the play.

As it turned out, this play was legal.

So, it turned out that this play was legal.

“There’s some incidental contact with his left leg to the head/neck area, but that is not a foul. That is legal contact. This should not have been called. It’s a judgment call by the umpire, he’s looking at that, and in his judgment, he felt that it was enough for a foul. And in our review today, we felt that it was not.”

Blandino then showed an clip of a far more obvious example of a play in which a long-snapper was contacted in the head and neck area. And because Green’s crew couldn’t tell the difference, the Texans were allowed to extend a drive, and came away with seven points when they should have had three.

“The rule is designed to protect the player in that snapping posture,” Blandino concluded. “Think of a receiver who’s trying to catch a pass. You can’t hit him in the head or neck area, you can’t hit a defenseless snapper, while he’s in that posture, in the head or neck area either.”

Yes, the Chargers were at fault for collapsing in the second half, but in a 31-28 game, that four-point swing would have made a difference.

This isn’t the first time Blandino has had to publicly correct his officials this week. Referee Bill Leavy’s crew made two mistakes on one play in the San Francisco 49ers’ 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers. First, Leavy fudged the ruling on an offsetting dead-ball foul, which gave San Francisco an extra down. Then, the league said that tackle Joe Staley should not have been flagged during an altercation with Green Bay outside linebackers Clay Matthews.

40 comments
tlm773458
tlm773458

I agree that the officials made mistakes but the bottom line is still that San Diego blew a 14 point lead in only 1 quarter of play.  Granted the called penalty extended a Houston drive but if the SD defense could've stopped them on one of the two TD drives, since there was the penalty situation in one, the game also would've turned out differently

gvalencia05
gvalencia05

Not to mention that fake punt. without the clarity of that rule the chargers laid off the center and basicly gave the first down up.

Phroggo
Phroggo

So the NFL admits the umpire in the San Diego game and the referee in the Niner game blew calls that could have affected the outcome of the games.

The fans would like to know what kind of disciplinary action, if any, the league takes in matters like these.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

yes they were given an extra play it should've been 4th and 2, as they were deadball fouls and they were given a mulligan.  As for if this changed the game, it may have not as the last 5 drives for the chargers were pathetic and you don't think schaub could've found either daniels or johnson for a game winning touchdown.  This the problem with the NFL, they say oh we screwed up but so what and if I'm not mistaken also the year the Saints won the Super Bowl, wasn't Leavy the offical in that game, when he didn't call the Saints a personal foul on the int that Farve threw when he was hit in the knees which is a penalty and the NFL then also said our bad penalty should've been called.  I mean you see it every week these officals make a mistake and I'm really getting sick and tired of Lance Easily this guy has been allowed to profit from a bad call, that he knows was bad call but still won't admit it

Craig
Craig

Just a point of clarification.  The 49ers were NOT given an extra play.  They were given the opportunity for an extra play.  The "extra play" never happened, because they scored on third down and never had/needed the fourth down.

Would they have kicked a field goal instead if they didn't get the down?  Who knows?  It's possible, maybe even likely, but that's all conjecture.  The call was an error, BUT they didn't receive an extra down.  Is that significant?  Only if you care about reporting the truth of what happened.

MorphySmith
MorphySmith

didn't impact the outcome of the game Chargers still choked.

MichaelMaxsonSr.
MichaelMaxsonSr.

It could be worse, they could be the Packers who have been robbed in consecutive seasons on trips to the west coast.

beckermike929
beckermike929

Maybe Boldin should have been ejected then, since he slapped a Packer's defensive back away from the altercation. Or maybe he should bring the knuckles as his p.o.s. coach said.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Unlike the SF GB game, this was definitely a turning point. SD would have won this game.

alienfog
alienfog

Another blown officiating call?  I thought the strike was over?

shmellon
shmellon

Correction -- "in a 31-28 game, that four-point swing MAY have made a difference." -- San Diego would not necessarily have won had the game had the call gone the other way.  Houston had the ball and a first down at the Charger's 24-yard line with roughly a minute left.  At that point, they got conservative and ran the clock down, knowing they needed only a chip-shot field goal to win the game.  Had they needed a TD, given the way they had been driving up until that point, it certainly is possible that they could have scored a game-winning TD.

Fifilo
Fifilo

Don't see why they don't have an in booth type reviewer to make sure that rules are enforced properly. Clearly this is not a a judgement call situation, but ignorance of the rules. I was kinda hoping the Chargers would implode, but fair is fair. 

MrTeebs
MrTeebs

I'd love to hear Blandino explain why Clay Matthews was not ejected.

Holden
Holden

@Craig Getting TWO third downs is, indeed, getting an extra play, Craig.  They had the security of fourth down, twice.

Unless you're saying they'd have called the same play they called on their second third down attempt, on fourth down...which is preposterous...they got an extra attempt to score a touchdown.

Holden
Holden

@MorphySmith The Bolts need no help from poor officiating to lose games, that is for sure.  Still, that was a TERRIBLE call, and resulted in Houston scoring a touchdown, instead of surely going for three.  It's THOSE kinds of calls which ought to be reviewable!

This Broncos fan didn't mind the result, although the West is terrible, save one team, so I say this objectively.  The Chargers got boned.

Mike26
Mike26

@MichaelMaxsonSr. Baby Pack Man, you were only robbed LAST year on your FIRST WC trip.  You simply got your butt kicked the last two times on the Left Coast.

KevinDoucette
KevinDoucette

@MichaelMaxsonSr. Certainly got robbed last year but I'm not feeling too bad after seeing what Matthews did. As bad a cheap shot as you can get. The SF penalty was not bad at all and shouldn't have been called. With that said, it was called and the refs got the rule wrong. It "possibly" cost  the Packers but it wasn't as blatant as last year. It cost the Packers 4 points but they still lost by 6, so it wasn't a sure win by any means. 

x72
x72

@MichaelMaxsonSr. Pathetic packers fans, this is why the rest of the nfl laughs at you idiots. It's not just because you wear cheese on your heads.

akaufman23
akaufman23

@MichaelMaxsonSr. The Leavy mistake was very unfortunate, but I don't see how your takeaway from the article can be that the Packers were "robbed." After all, Blandino admitted that there shouldn't have been offsetting penalties in the first place since the Staley call was incorrect.

Rick81
Rick81

Richard, be for real! The reason is....When little boy Phillip Rivers has confidence he actually performs like an elite QB....We all saw that untill he got slapped in the face with that pick 6! And that was the end of his confidence as well as the guaranteed demise of his choker team! I do agree it was a terible call though....

Mike26
Mike26

@Richard--Ramirez You didn't watch the game.  SD lost their fight at 28-14.  Go back and watch the tape again.

Scramble
Scramble

@shmellon Or the Chargers may have scored after getting the ball back after Houston's field goal. A solid momentum booster after stopping their touchdown drive.

Mike26
Mike26

@Fifilo Still a judgment on whether or not the head/back/neck were pushed down.

JamesMartens
JamesMartens

@MrTeebs Not a packers fan...but if you tossed every player for late hits then you would need to expand the rosters by another 4 or 5 players just for the late hit ejections.

MichaelMaxsonSr.
MichaelMaxsonSr.

@Mike26 @MichaelMaxsonSr. You are right. The blown call would not have changed the score but, it may have changed the momentum. I like the 49ers and the coach is from my alma mater. I saw him play. He was and is good.

BillAbendroth
BillAbendroth

@Scramble @shmellon 

The Chargers may have scored after Houston's field goal?  Maybe--but considering the last time the Chargers made a first down was ten minutes into the third quarter (meaning that the Chargers couldn't convert on third down for the last third of the game), that certainly wouldn't be the way to bet.......

Mike26
Mike26

@Scramble @shmellon SD looked defeated offensively and defensively as soon as Houston made it 28-14.  Sad but true.

gwhjelm
gwhjelm

@Mike26 @Fifilo , yeah it was a judgement call that was wrong. Somehow this ref didn't understand the difference between contact and attempted injury. Send that ref back to the NFL Training camp for poor calls. The NFL head of officating says that it was a bad call. Not an inbetween judgement call. He spent time showing the difference between the two calls that could be made in this situation. The Texans left with a victory that didn't belong to them. It is my hope that the law of averages has impact on the Texans down the road in 2013-14. 

AntonyJones
AntonyJones

@JamesMartens I believe @MrTeebs is referring to the fact that Matthews threw at least a punch and slap into Joe Staley's face, he should have been ejected for that, not the stupid penalty. During the SEA-CAR game, an undrafted DE got ejected just for pushing somebody in the face. 

Mike26
Mike26

@JamesMartens @MrTeebs James, it's clear you're 100% clueless to the ejection issue with Matthews so why not just skip your commentary on the subject.  Heard there's a good golf article on the main page - maybe you could give Tiger some advice?

gwhjelm
gwhjelm

@Mike26 @Scramble @shmellon ' I don't think we where watching the same game on late Monday Night. They didn't look defeated to me until the very end. The refs helped the Texans win the game, and the NFL is not goint to change the results. Case closed!

RobertCloutier
RobertCloutier

mike26 you are clearly biased against the chargers for some reason. no reason for you to attempt to correct those that understand the difference between a field goal and a touchdown. and you obviously don't know what momentum is. you must be a raiders fan.

Mike26
Mike26

@gyffes Another "Brainiac" that clearly didn't understand the scenario that warranted the ejection.

gyffes
gyffes

THIS is an insightful reply that will clarify the issue for JamesMartens (and anyone else).


Mike26's reply indicates he spends too much time in his mom's basement and he needs to be kept off teh interwebz 'til he learns how to control himself.