Sports

Tracking questionable NFL officiating decisions: Rams QB John Wolford takes hit to head

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A historic drop in penalty flags helped reduce the highlight on NFL officiating in 2020. So did the abolition of replay overview for go interference. However the arrival of postseason football has raised scrutiny on each questionable name, rule interpretation and overview.

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No worries. We’re right here for you. What follows is a real-time breakdown of the calls you shook your heads at, screamed on the tv for or had been in any other case confused by in the course of the wild-card spherical. The latest performs are on the high,.

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Rams RB Cam Akers‘ fumble reversed

Rams-Seahawks wild-card game, 46 seconds remaining in first half

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What occurred: Officers dominated that Seahawks defensive finish Carlos Dunlap stripped the ball from Akers after a 3-yard run. The fumble restoration was credited to Seahawks cornerback Ryan Neal, giving Seattle the ball on the Rams’ 26-yard line.

The way it was resolved: The decision was reversed in replay overview. The NFL dominated Akers was down by contact earlier than he fumbled, and the Rams retained possession.

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Evaluation: The league finally acquired the play proper, however like a number of different calls we have seen in the course of the course of wild-card weekend, it was exhausting to imagine that NFL-caliber officers would see this play as a fumble. Akers was laying on his again, with the ball tucked tightly in his arm, when Dunlap first tried to strip the ball. At the very least one official initially dominated Akers down, however he was overruled. It is at all times potential that views had been blocked, and generally in the event that they’re doubtful, officers rule a turnover to make sure it may be adjudicated appropriately in replay by way of automated overview.

However on this case, replay may have reviewed the play regardless as a result of there have been lower than two minutes remaining. It was the sort of determination that erodes confidence within the total competence of the enterprise.

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Officers choose up flag on hit to Rams QB’s head

Rams-Seahawks wild-card game, 5:40 remaining in first quarter

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What occurred: As Rams quarterback John Wolford dove to the bottom after a two-yard run, Seahawks security Jamal Adams lowered his proper shoulder and hit Wolford within the head. Officers initially threw a flag in opposition to Adams. Wolford left the game and was changed by Jared Goff.

The way it was resolved: Referee John Hussey introduced there would no penalty as a result of Wolford was thought-about a runner and thus wasn’t topic to protections usually afforded to quarterbacks.

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Evaluation: It is true that Wolford would not get quarterback safety on that play, however the unique flag was nonetheless merited. It’s nonetheless an pointless roughness foul, in keeping with the NFL rule e-book, as a result of Wolford was diving to the bottom and thus giving himself up. Which means he’s labeled as a defenseless participant, and opponents are prohibited from forcibly hitting the pinnacle or neck space of such gamers. It was the second consecutive 12 months the Seahawks had knocked a beginning quarterback out of a playoff sport with successful to the pinnacle. In that case, Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was thought-about incidental and never forcible. Wolford, in the meantime, has been taken to the hospital for precautionary measures, in keeping with a Rams spokesperson.


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How was that not a fumble by the Colts?

Colts-Bills wild-card game, 50 seconds remaining in fourth quarter

What occurred: On fourth-and-10 on the Colts’ closing possession of the sport, receiver Zach Pascal was credited with a 17-yard catch and fell on the Payments’ 46-yard line. Pascal acquired up and fumbled, which was recovered by the Payments in what would have been a game-clinching play. Officers on the sector, nevertheless, dominated that Pascal was down by contact after initially falling.

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The way it was resolved: Payments coach Sean McDermott referred to as a timeout because the Colts hurried to the road of scrimmage, however he couldn’t problem as a result of there was lower than 2 minutes remaining within the sport. Throughout the timeout, NFL senior vice chairman of officiating Al Riveron reviewed the decision. It was not instantly clear if his overview stopped the sport, or if it was McDermott’s timeout. Regardless, referee Brad Allen introduced that the decision would stand with no additional rationalization.

Evaluation: The NFL said on Twitter that there was no clear and apparent proof obtainable to overturn the ruling, and there was no pool report requested in Buffalo to additional clarify. As a result of replays appeared to substantiate that Pascal was not contacted earlier than he acquired up, and that he was not down when he misplaced possession of the ball. We’ll replace this publish if the NFL or Riveron affords any additional rationalization. However by all obtainable proof in the intervening time, the Payments ought to have been given possession. Had the Colts come again to tie or win the sport — the Bills won 27-24 — this determination would have been closely scrutinized.

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Clock runs after fumble out of bounds

Colts-Bills wild-card game, 26 seconds remaining in fourth quarter

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What occurred: The sport clock continued operating after Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. fumbled out of bounds.

The way it was resolved: The clock was not stopped.

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Evaluation: This play brought about a good bit of uproar on social media, but it surely was applicable sport administration. A fumble out of bounds will not be the identical as a participant going out of bounds. In accordance the NFL rule e-book: “If a fumble or backward go by any participant goes out of bounds, the sport clock begins on the referee’s sign {that a} ball has been returned to the sector of play.”


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Payments credited with two sideline catches

Colts-Bills wild-card game, beneath 2 minutes, second quarter

What occurred: Payments receiver Gabriel Davis was credited with sideline receptions of 37 and 19 yards. In each circumstances, frame-by-frame replays confirmed that he may not have gotten each toes down in bounds.

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The way it was resolved: As a result of there was lower than 2 minutes remaining, the NFL’s replay official instituted critiques of each performs. In every case, referee Brad Allen introduced solely that the unique name stood. Allen didn’t clarify why there was an official’s hat on the bottom as Davis made the primary catch; typically which means a participant or gamers has run out of bounds and is now not an eligible receiver.

Evaluation: You may make a frame-by-frame judgment that Davis’ left foot touched the white a part of the sideline after the primary catch. The identical goes for the second reception, the place he may not have totally executed a toe drag earlier than stepping out of bounds. However the NFL’s replay system requires a a lot increased commonplace than “may.” It have to be “clear and apparent,” ideally in live-speed motion, that Davis had stepped out of bounds earlier than gaining possession. Had the on-field ruling been incomplete, the overview system doubtless would have upheld that as properly.

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