There’s using your head … and there is losing your head.
People who follow me know that there have been player safety rules that I don’t necessarily agree with, like the new crown of the helmet rule with the runner and the tackler.
Though the game was lopsided, I want to take a look at a play that happened in the St. Louis-Indianapolis game, with a rule I totally agree with.
Here was the situation: 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 quarterback Andrew 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.
In this case, the helmet came off even before the runner stepped out of bounds So technically, that killed the play even before he stepped out.
But 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.
There are better ways to use your noggin than being hit by someone who has got a helmet on … while you don’t.
TWICE GETTING IT RIGHT
You’ve heard me use the term before and I normally refer to something as a bang-bang play, something happens very quick in real time.
Well we had a bang-bang, bang-bang at the exact same time in two different games Sunday — one in the Detroit-Chicago game and the other Seatlle-Atlanta game.
Here were the situations:
Detroit-Chicago: The Lions had the ball, second-and-4 at the Chicago 4-yard line with 13:02 left in the third quarter with the score tied 7-7. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford lobbed a 4-yard pass to Calvin Johnson, while he was backing out of the end zone, for a touchdown.
Seattle-Atlanta: The Seahawks had the ball, third-and-5 at the Atlanta 6-yard line with eight seconds left in the second quarter. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed a 6-yard pass Golden Tate for a touchdown.
These two plays happened simultaneously and so what followed was twin replay reviews going on at the same time, both on touchdown catches with a question of whether both feet got down in bounds with control to validate the touchdown calls that were made on the field.
Fantastic catches by two great receivers, and I must say, outstanding calls by the officials.
The Johnson catch was one foot down with a toe drag, while on the Tate TD, he got both feet down but very near the sidelines.
It’s an example of exceptional ability, both on the aspect on the players and the officials.
Those calls are tough to make in real time. And to me, that’s when replay shows how good officials can be.
You know that replay exposes mistakes, but sometimes it exposes really quality officiating.
WHERE’S THE CHALLENGE?
In the NFL, the way the game can turn on one play, you can’t afford a misstep, because it could cost you a victory.
Not sure what the Philadelphia coaches were doing in the press box in Green Bay Sunday during the second quarter of their game against the Packers, but they clearly missed a chance to help negate a 30-yard reception.
Here was the situation: Green Bay had the ball, third-and-9 at its own 29-yard line with 13:09 left before halftime with the Eagles leading 7-0. Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien completed a 36-yard pass to Jarrett Boykin that was ruled a catch on the field. There was an offsides penalty that was called on the Eagles, but the Packers declined it.
It clearly was not a catch.
The rule is you have to get two feet or another body part on the ground in bounds in order for it to qualify as a catch. Boykin’s forearm hit out of bounds before the second foot hit the ground in bounds. So if the Eagles would have challenged the play and it went to replay, it would have been reversed.
Philadelphia, for some reason, decided not to challenge. Had the Eagles done so, the play would have been reversed and the off-side penalty that was called on the defense and then declined, would have been reinstated and the down would have been repeated, putting it at third and 4.
It would have been a case where a replay reversal would have resulted in declined penalty being accepted.
It didn’t cost the Eagles this time, because the Packers failed to capitalize, however, you don’t want to miss opportunities like this, because it clearly could have.
It’s rarely a good thing to get behind. So you can imagine how much worse it might be when you get behind behind.
Ok, pay attention, because unless you’re an official … or Einstein, you’re probably not going to going to be familiar with the "behind-behind’" enforcement that took place during the first quarter of the Lions-Bears game Sunday.
Here was the situation: Chicago had the ball, third-and-7 at its own 17-yard line with 5:07 left in the first quarter. The score was tied 7-7. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked at the Chicago 8-yard line for a 9-yard loss. However, even though he wasn’t the correct one called for the penalty, Ndamukong Suh, grabbed Cutler’s face mask and the Lions were penalized.
The enforcement for this penalty is called a "behind-behind.’" That means the foul occurred by the defense behind the line of scrimmage and the run ended behind the line of scrimmage.
Therefore, you go to the spot — either the spot of the foul or the dead ball foul spot and you enforce it from there. It comes down to whatever spot helps the offense the most.
So in this case you go to the spot of the face mask infraction and you enforce it from there. And if by chance, the yardage doesn’t get the ball back to the original line of scrimmage, it must do so. Therefore, if the spot of the foul was more than 15 years behind the line of scrimmage, you would put the ball back at the line of scrimmage.