A play in the Giants-Eagles game provides a perfect moment to show how a defender must control the ball inbounds. Hey, the more you know ...
By Mike PereiraFoxSports
When is recovering a fumble like catching a pass?
No, I haven't dipped into the Tito's here in Ice Cube at the FOX Network Center. But pay attention class, I'm going to teach you an interesting aspect of the possession rule that took place in the NY Giants-Philadelphia game.
Here was the situation: 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.
Now here are the similarities of recovering a fumble and completing the process of the catch. When a player is going to the ground, as Williams was, you have to go through the same process that that a receiver does in completing a catch. You have to get control of the ball, you have to get two feet down or a body part and then maintain control of the ball after you hit the ground. All of which Williams did.
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.
GOODBYE, TUCK RULE!
People don't usually like change.
But there was a play early in the Buffalo-New Orleans game that was the perfect example of why something not only needed to be changed, but was this past off-season. And involved the dreaded tuck rule.
Here was the situation: Buffalo had the ball, third-and-5 at the Buffalo 34-yard line with 6:12 left in the first quarter. There was no score. Bills quarterback Thad Lewis was being pressured by Cameron Jordan, and while he was attempting to pass, brought the ball back into his body. As Lewis was doing so, lost the ball, which was recovered by Jordan.
Prior to this season, this play would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because of the tuck rule. Lewis was attempting to make a pass and it was clear that he was not intending to throw the ball.
The rule made little sense in the first place and this was a perfect illustration for why it needed to be changed, which the NFL did this off season.
Sometimes change isn't easy, but the NFL gets an A+ for this change.
CAN'T TOUCH THIS
A game of inches is a saying generally associated with baseball, but football can hold its own on any given day … like Sunday.
Look at the Matt Stafford play at the goal line in the Lions' dramatic comeback victory over the Cowboys on Sunday, where he barely got the ball over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown with no timeouts left.
Then there was a key play on a punt in the Pittsburgh-Oakland game where a finger tip determined the outcome of the play.
Here was the situation: Pittsburgh had the ball, fourth-and-14 at the Pittsburgh 21-yard line with 8:13 left in the second quarter. Oakland led 14-3. Steelers' punter Zoltan Mesko kicked the ball 51 yards and Oakland's Jacoby Ford was waiting for the punt. The ball hit the ground before it got to Ford. Antown Blake was covering for Pittsburgh and the ball went off his finger tip and then hit Ford. Blake ended up recovering the ball, but the ball was awarded to Oakland.
The officials on the field ended up ruling that the Steelers, who were the kicking team, touched the ball first. That is a violation that allowed the Raiders to take the ball at the spot of that illegal touching violation.
Pittsburgh challenged the play and, in review, under the category of touching of a kick, there wasn't conclusive evidence that Blake did not touch the ball with his fingertips before the touch by Ford.
Therefore, the ruling on the field stood, which allowed the Raiders to keep the ball at the spot of the touch by Blake.
San Francisco ran a hide out play, this time in Jolly old England, against the Jacksonville Jaguars only two plays into their game with the Jaguars at famous Wembley Stadium Sunday.
The 49ers did it two years ago on a field-goal attempt and ran it successfully and then they followed it up Sunday with another legal version on a regular scrimmage play.
Here was the situation: The 49ers had the ball, second-and-7 from their own 27-yard line with 14:24 left in the first quarter. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took one step back from center and fired the ball over to Bruce Miller who was standing near the sideline. Miller caught the ball in stride and took it 43 yards to the Jacksonville 30-yard line.
Here's what made it legal. Miller was in on the previous play, so having to be inside the numbers at some point did not apply on this play. That only applies to an incoming substitute. After the 49ers first play from scrimmage — a 3-yard run by Frank Gore — Miller acted like he was leaving the field, headed towards his team area but stopped and lineup up near the sideline. He lined up legally near the sideline.
If you are in front of your team area you cannot line up within five yards of the sideline. But if you're outside the boundary of the team area, you can line up next to the sideline. The team area is deemed to be from 32-to-32. Since this ball was snapped at the 24-yard line, he was not in front of the team area so it was legal.
As I said, San Francisco successfully ran this play a couple of years ago. They save it for certain situations to use as an element of surprise. Not only did the play work, but six plays later, it also led to the 49ers' first touchdown.
You have to give coach Jim Harbaugh and his crew credit, because they perfectly fooled not only the Jaguars, but probably the Brits, too.