Confusion over down at end of Giants-Redskins game
Referee Jeff Triplette acknowledged the down marker was moved
incorrectly on the Washington Redskins’ last possession of a 24-17
loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night, but said halting play
to fix the mistake ”would have given an unfair advantage.”
On second-and-5 from his own 41 coming out of the two-minute
warning, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a pass
to Pierre Garcon. The play gained 4 yards, making it third-and-1,
but the down marker was shifted, indicating there was a first
Washington coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that he asked
an official to measure to see whether that play had earned a first
down – but was told that wasn’t necessary.
After an incomplete pass, the announcement was made that it was
fourth-and-1 and not, as the Redskins believed, second-and-10.
”The chain said first down, and then when we came back, we
think it’s second-and-10, and they’re yelling out it’s fourth down.
No explanation. No measurement. Didn’t stop the clock to allow the
chains to move back,” Griffin said. ”And we just had to go ahead
and call the play.”
Both Shanahan and Griffin said the confusion over the proper
down might have affected the play choice on fourth-and-1. But
Griffin did complete a 6-yard pass to Garcon there – which would
have been enough to extend the drive – before safety Will Hill
stripped the ball away after the catch and ran the other way. The
Giants ran out the clock.
”I told him I wanted a measurement, because I knew it was
close. It was inches. And he said, `No, it’s a first down.’ And he
moved the chains,” Shanahan said. ”And then after I saw it was
fourth down, I asked him, `You already told me it was first down.’
He didn’t say anything. So that was quite disappointing.”
Speaking to a pool reporter, Triplette said: ”We signaled third
down on the field. The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that
play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down
prior to the play starting. The stakes just got moved
The game was inside the final two minutes, and the Redskins were
out of timeouts.
”We just didn’t shut it down in that situation, because that
would have given an unfair advantage,” Triplette said.
Asked about the odd sequence, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck
said: ”I saw that, and I was like, `That ain’t a first down,’ but
they put a first down on the sticks. I was trying to signal to
(Giants coach Tom) Coughlin, `You might want to challenge that,’
but the play was going fast there. … Lucky for us, they corrected
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