Referees were worse than we thought in Sunday’s Dolphins’ loss
Referee Walt Anderson’s explains “The official on the field what he ruled was that the player batted it forward, which is an intentional act. Players cannot bat the ball forward. With it being the defensive team they couldn’t bat it in that direction. The offensive team likewise could not have batted it forward from their side of the field.”
The worst part about this particular call is not even that it was wrong and not reviewable, but that it seems overly punitive considering that it awarded the Patriots ten yards from the line of scrimmage and an automatic first down, when even a ten yard run off from the spot of the supposed infraction would have resulted in a 3rd and 5 at the 21.
But wait a minute, now that I understand this rule, the worst call of the game came right at the beginning of the fourth quarter, setting up this drive in the first place.
Miami had a 1st and 10 at the New England 46 when Tannehill passed it down the sideline to Mike Wallace. The ball was intentionally batted forward by Devin McCourty as he fell out of bounds in an obvious pass to Marquice Cole, who came up with the interception at the 18 yard line.
The play was challenged by replay assistant and upheld.
You would think that the difference between the plays would be that one was a pass while the other was a fumble, so I looked up the term loose ball in the nfl.com rulebook:
Article 3 “A Loose Ball is a live ball that is not in player possession, i.e., any kick, pass, or fumble. A loose ball that has not yet
struck the ground is In Flight. A loose ball (either during or after flight) is considered in possession of team (offense)
whose player kicked, passed, or fumbled. It ends when a player secures possession or when the down ends if that is
before such possession. (For exception, see 9-5-1-Exc. 3).”
So, there you have it folks, the most damaging officiating mistake was the one they did not make.
The average fan at home does not know, with precision, what a loose ball and a batted ball are, but it is clear that this group of officials did and yet allowed the most obvious instance of it go unpunished.
The Miami Dolphins should have been awarded a 1st down and 10 at the New England 36 yard line with a strong chance to tie or take the lead.
It turns out that not only were Dolphins fans in feeling that the officials cost them a game, they are more right than they even realized. – Cyrus (@Cyruslassus on Twitter)
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