Oh yeah, it probably helps to have the lights on in order to get the action. A bizarre twist in Week 10 occurred during the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game at New Meadowlands Stadium, when a generator outside the stadium blew up during the third quarter, causing a power outage and a 12-minute delay.
In the NFL, every down has to be played in order for it to be a complete game. The game could have been suspended and completed later when the power came back on or even the next day. It is 100 percent NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s call at that point as to when the game would resume.
As bizarre as the power outage may have been, the Cowboys’ winning seemed just as strange, considering the season they’ve had. But let’s get to the rest of the action in Week 10.
1. Houston at Jacksonville
THE SITUATION: Houston had the ball, first-and-10 from at the Jacksonville 18-yard line with 4:19 left in the game. The Texans trailed 24-17.
THE PLAY: Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw an 18-yard pass to Kevin Walter that was ruled incomplete. The Texans challenged that Walter had caught the ball for a touchdown. The play was reversed and the Texans were awarded the touchdown. The extra point was good and the game was tied at 24.
MY TAKE: No question this should be a touchdown. The action where Walter lost the ball was clearly after he completed the catch, and he actually seemed to be showing the officials he had maintained control.
The referee, Gene Steratore, who was the referee in the Lions-Bears matchup in Week 1 for the controversial Calvin Johnson play at the end of the game, made the right call again. This time there was clearly a second act, which to me, is reminiscent of a second baseman losing the ball while taking the ball out of his glove in an attempt to turn a double play. So the Texans win this challenge, but ended up losing the game on a wild Hail Mary by the Jaguars on the last play of the game.
2. Minnesota at Chicago
THE SITUATION: The Bears kicked off after scoring a touchdown to take a 27-13 lead with 8:40 left in the fourth quarter.
THE PLAY: Percy Harvin took the kick at the Vikings’ 4-yard line and returned it 25 yards before he fumbled. The Bears’ Corey Graham recovered the ball, but the Vikings challenged that Harvin was down before the fumble. The call was reversed, and the Vikings were awarded the ball.
MY TAKE: This was a correct reversal and a very difficult play for the officials to rule on. During a kickoff return, the officials are never in their normal positions and have a difficult time when a runner goes into a group of players. Often when this happens, you will see the officials rule fumble because of their obstructed view.
Harvin’s left leg was clearly down before the ball was ripped out. It’s good to have replay as a safety net in these situations.
3. Carolina at Tampa Bay
THE SITUATION: Carolina had the ball fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1-yard line with seven seconds remaining in the game.
THE PLAY: Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen tried a quarterback sneak and was stopped for no gain. The replay assistant challenged that Clausen broke the plane and the play was upheld.
MY TAKE: A few things to talk about on this play. First of all, there is no question in my mind that Clausen never broke the plane. It is also legal to push a runner into the end zone.
In order to have a foul for aiding the runner, a teammate must pull him into the end zone. This rule was changed several years ago when it was determined that it was difficult to judge whether a player was pushing the runner or the pile forward.
The quarterback is not defenseless on a quarterback sneak. He is considered a runner. He is considered defenseless only when he is the process of passing or when he slides feet first on a run. The hit he took at the goal line was not a foul.
4. Cincinnati at Indianapolis
THE SITUATION: The Bengals had just scored to cut the Colts’ lead to 23-17 with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter.
THE PLAY: The Bengals tried an onside kick, and the ball was recovered by Chad Ochocinco at the Cincinnati 45-yard line. Colts coach Jim Caldwell tried to challenge the play, but the referee didn’t allow it.
MY TAKE: Who recovers a loose ball is not reviewable unless it happens in the end zone, and only then because it’s considered a scoring play. Loose balls include passes, kicks and fumbles. Officials will not charge a team a timeout when it’s a legitimate attempt to challenge a play they might have considered reviewable. That is why the officials told Caldwell he couldn’t challenge.
5. New York Giants at Dallas
THE SITUATION: Dallas had the ball first-and-10 from the Giants’ 13-yard line with 3:28 left in the first quarter. The Cowboys trailed 3-0 at the time.
THE PLAY: Dallas’ Jon Kitna attempted a 13-yard pass to Dez Bryant that was ruled incomplete on the field. Dallas challenged that Bryant had caught the ball for a touchdown. The call was reversed, and the Cowboys were awarded a touchdown.
MY TAKE: The big issue here was whether Bryant had control of the ball before it hit the ground and then whether he maintained control afterward. This call was correctly reversed to a touchdown as he did establish control before hitting the ground and maintained control throughout the process of completing the catch.