And Saturday’s two Wild Card games didn’t disappoint.
With temperatures in Philly hovering around a very cold 18 degrees, the results of the second game of the day were just as hot as the first game. New Orleans 26, Philadelphia 24.
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How did the officials do?
This game was easy to grade for me. I gave referee Bill Vinovich’s crew an A.
Another exciting game. Big calls were made and made correctly. The defensive pass interference called against New Orleans in the fourth quarter on a pass to DeSean Jackson, a 40-yard penalty that took the ball down to the 3-yard line and set up an Eagles touchdown. The horse collar call made on the ensuing kickoff against Philadelphia for dragging down Darren Sproles by his collar to add 15-yards to the play, that gave the Saints a first-and-10 from the Philadelphia 48-yard line, that led to the game-winning field goal.
Were there misses? Yes.
There was an offensive pass interference call that I thought should have been made against the Saints on a pass the Riley Cooper dropped. And possibly another one, where I felt there could have been an intentional grounding called against Drew Brees on a play where their running back was being held as he was trying to get out of the backfield. But that’s it.
Again, there was no impact by the officials on the outcome of the game, which is what the league — and everybody else — wants.
There were 11 penalties called in the game and one replay review that led to a reversal on a play in the second quarter when it was ruled that the Saints’ Jimmy Graham fumbled after a catch but was reversed. After a review, his shin was deemed to be down before the ball got knocked out of his hands.
It was a very good performance by the officials.
The league can only hope that Saturday is an indication of how it will go for the officiating for the rest of the playoffs, because both games were well officiated. The officiating in the Saints-Eagles game was about as good as you will ever see.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW: THE FINAL STATS
TOTAL FOULS: 11
TOTAL FOULS ACCEPTED: 11
PENALTY BREAKDOWN: New Orleans 7-85; Philadelphia 4-38.