San Francisco had the ball, third-and-6 from the Green Bay 10-yard line with 9:30 left in the second quarter and the score tied 7-7. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick scrambled to the left and ran out of bounds at the 6-yard line. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews took a cheap shot on Kaepernick after he was clearly out of bounds. San Francisco tackle Joe Staley then started a shoving match with Matthews and both were penalized — Matthews for unnecessary roughness and Staley for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both of those calls were correct. But here's what wasn't: the enforcement of the penalty.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Packers v. Redskins
On the Packers' opening drive, Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy carried the ball for 10 yards and was hit in the head by the Redskins' Brandon Meriweather with no foul being called on the play. Lacy was immediately taken out of the game for a concussion test. The question is going to be weather Meriweather "lined him up'" with a direct shot. It's going to take some examination by the league to determine whether they feel this was a foul, but the intent of the rule would seemingly make this be a foul they want called. Lacy was deemed to have a concussion and is out for the rest of the game.
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
Packers v. Bengals
Green Bay had the ball, fourth-and-inches from the Cincinnati 30-yard line with 4:03 left in the game. The Packers led 30-27. Packers running back Johnathan Franklin tried to dive over the pile for the first down, but had the ball knocked loose. Cincinnati's Reggie Nelson picked up the ball, then he fumbled it and it was picked up by the Bengals' Terrance Newman at the Cincinnati 42-yard line and returned it 58 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. On fourth down, if there is a fumble, only the fumbling player may recover and advance the ball. If a teammate recovers the fumble, the ball is dead and the ball is returned to the spot of the fumble. This is a result because of Oakland's Dave Casper. Remember him and the "Holy Roller" play?
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsPat Lovell
Texans v. Seahawks
JJ Watt was seeing red against the Seahawks — and a lot of it. We saw it, too, as the blood wasrunning down his face as Houston's reigning Defensive Player of the Year was in a battle with Seattle for much of the afternoon in the Texans' 23-20 loss in overtime to the Seahawks. Football's a tough game, but it got me to thinking, the NFL might be the one sport that has no blood rule in place. In the NCAA rule book, Article 5, Section A states: "Whenever a participant (player or game official) is bleeding, has blood saturated on the uniform, or has blood on exposed skin, the player or game official shall go to the team area and be given appropriate medical treatment. He may not return to the game without approval of medical personnel." I think the time may be right for the NFL to talk about it. In today's society, with as many blood diseases that have been found, it's legitimately relevant for the NFL to discuss it.
Getty ImagesBob Levey
Eagles v. Giants
The Eagles had the ball, third-and-10 on their own 27-yard line with 12:40 left in the third quarter. The Eagles led 19-7. Philadelphia quarterbackNick Foles completed an 11-yard pass to LeSean McCoy on the sideline that came into question. McCoy went up and definitely got two toes in bounds, but the question was whether McCoy maintained possession while going to the ground. Philadelphia was hurrying to snap the ball and Coughlin had to call a timeout to challenge the play. And though I thought the ball was clearly incomplete, after reviewing it with the replay official, the referee stayed with the call.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAYRobert Deutsch
Eagles v. Buccaneers
Philadelphia had, first-and-10 from the Eagles' 27-yard line with 10:43 left in the first quarter. Philadelphia led 7-0. Running back LeSean McCoy carried the ball for 12 yards and fumbled ball when he was tackled by Darrelle Revis. Revis picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Then came the review. First thing they do when they look at this is confirm it's a fumble, which you can do in one quick shot. Then in the remaining time, which is only 60 seconds total, you have to see if Revis was down. Revis' butt was on the ground when McCoy touched him on the right shoulder, so they correctly reversed back to Revis being down at that point and make the clock adjustment. And I want to emphasize again, they did all of this in 60 seconds. Well done by the officiating crew.
Getty ImagesAl Messerschmidt
Redskins v. Bears
Meriweather earned two personal fouls Sunday – the first for a hit on Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the third quarter and then another for a hit on a defenseless receiver when he popped Brandon Marshall in the end zone on what turned out to be an incomplete pass. I look for this to be a very expensive week for him, whether it’s a suspension or fine.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsGeoff Burke
Eagles v. Giants
Philadelphia had the ball, first-and-goal at the Giants' 2-yard line with 1:14 left in the second quarter. The Giants led 12-0. Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley scrambled out of the pocket and was sacked by Terrell Thomas, who knocked the ball out of Barkley's hand. It was recovered by the Giants' Jacquian Williams at the New York 12-yard line as he was falling out of bounds. There was a booth review and the officials had to review both aspects of the play when they went under the hood — the fumble and the recovery. The ruling on the field of a Giants' recovery was confirmed. It's the really an interesting aspect of the rule. In order to legally recover the ball in bounds, you have to do the same exact thing as completing the catch of a pass.
Getty ImagesDrew Hallowell
Cowboys v. Vikings
Dallas had the ball, first-and-10 at its own 35-yard line with 4:26 left in the third quarter. Dallas led 20-17. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo attempted a pass to Terrance Williams that was broken up on a big hit by Vikings safety Mistral Raymond. A flag immediately fell, but eventually the flag was picked up with no penalty. In this day and age of hits on defenseless players, the rule book states that if you have any question, throw the flag. In other words, they have said for a number of years, it's OK to err on the side of safety. But the league is doing a better job of trying to avoid the errors. And in this case the hit looked bad in real time, but in fact, Raymond's head was up, the contact was shoulder-to-shoulder and after discussing it as a crew, they decided to pick up the flag.
Getty ImagesTom Dahlin
Colts v. Rams
Indianapolis had the ball, first-and-goal at the St. Louis 4-yard line with 14:13 left in the fourth quarter with the Rams leading 38-8. By the way, that's not a misprint. Colts quarterbackAndrew Luck completed a pass to David Reed at the sideline, who was then hit by the Rams' Cortland Finnegan. Reed's helmet came off as he spun around trying to avoid the hit and he dove for the end zone and a touchdown was awarded. It appeared Reed stepped out of bounds before he reached the end zone and after a scoring review, the play was reversed. But it was reversed, perhaps, not for the reason you think. The NFL passed a rule in 2010 that when the helmet comes off of the runner – and it applies to the runner only — the play is dead immediately. Playing without a helmet, to me, and being susceptible to a hit by a player who is wearing a helmet, is a good enough reason to shut down the play immediately.