Doug Pederson made a mistake when he didn’t challenge illegal forward pass

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In the fourth quarter on Sunday night, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw an illegal forward pass to Mike Davis that picked up 17 yards on third-and-8. The officials missed it, and Eagles coach Doug Pederson didn’t challenge. That was a mistake.

Replays clearly showed that the ball traveled forward after Wilson crossed the line of scrimmage, and if Pederson had challenged, the Seahawks would have faced fourth-and-long and would have punted after the penalty. Instead the Seahawks got the first down and scored a touchdown on the drive.

After the game, Pederson said he never saw a definitive replay angle and was hesitant to throw a challenge flag after he had already lost a previous challenge.

“Real-time it looked fine. It looked legit. We didn’t get all the necessary looks and they hustled to the line,” Pederson said. “At the same time it looked good and I trust the guys upstairs making those decisions and didn’t challenge. I already challenged one in the half and lost that, so I didn’t want to risk another timeout.”

The touchdown the Seahawks scored after that illegal forward pass all but wrapped up the game. Pederson deciding not to challenge was costly.

84 responses to “Doug Pederson made a mistake when he didn’t challenge illegal forward pass

  1. I saw plenty of views at home before the ball was snapped. Are you telling me I have better video on plays than the coaches at the game?

    I would ask for an explanation from the league on that first review that he lost because on the replays it looked like a clear first down to me.

    Also, once again, Pederson went to his conservative Andy Reid roots.

  2. Pederson will be the only thing holding this team back. This guy did nothing to earn a head coaching job except being Andy Reid’s best friend. He will be out coached in every big game by better coaches. Good luck Birds fans, you won’t win until he is gone.

  3. Maybe the iggles will gather up enough signatures on a petition again to have this crew not work any iggles games again !

  4. Pederson bears most of the responsibility for this loss( Wentz gets some as well). Unnecessarily challenging a spot he intended to go for one way or the other, not challenging this huge play, and the inexplicable 1st half game plan that played right into SEA’s strength on D all lie at his feet and cost the Eagles dearly

  5. Wilson would have made the first down had he not pitched. The penalty is 5 yards and loss f down. So it might have been 4th and 4 if called or challenged.

  6. I made a comment last night that I did not think that the play was reviewable since to change it, they would be asking for a penalty. Since the “experts” still keep talking about this, I want Googled the NFL rule book. I still do not see anything here that would allow them to challenge. From their site:

    Rule 15, Article 5
    The Replay System will cover the following play situations:
    a.Plays involving possession.
    b.Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground.
    c.Plays governed by the goal line.
    d.Plays governed by the boundary lines.
    e.Plays governed by the line of scrimmage.
    f.Plays governed by the line to gain.
    g.Number of players on the field at the snap, even when a foul is not called.
    h.Game administration: 1.Penalty enforcement.
    2.Proper down.
    3.Spot of a foul.
    4.Status of the game clock.

    In situations in which time is deemed to have expired during or after the last play of the first or second half, or of an overtime period in the preseason or regular season, or of an overtime half in the postseason, a timing error is defined as having occurred only when the visual evidence demonstrates that more than one second should be put on the clock.

    In the first half, time shall be restored only if the additional play will be a snap from scrimmage. In the second half, time shall be restored only if it is a one-score game (eight points or fewer), and the additional play will be a snap from scrimmage by the team that is behind in the score, or by either team if the score is tied. A correction of a timing error for a team timeout may be made only if there is visual evidence of an official’s signal.

    If an on-field ruling of a dead ball (down by contact, out of bounds, or incomplete forward pass) is changed, the ball belongs to the recovering player at the spot of the recovery, and any advance is nullified. The recovery must occur in the continuing action following the loss of possession. If the ball goes out of bounds in an end zone, the result of the play will be either a touchback or a safety. If the Referee does not have clear and obvious visual evidence as to which player recovered the loose ball, or that the ball went out of bounds, the ruling on the field will stand.

    These reviewable play situations are explained in further detail in the Instant Replay Casebook.

  7. Let’s be clear, though. The turning point was Wentz’ fumble. Instead of 10-10 game, it was 17-3 after the Seahawks took the possession after the touchback in for a score. A 14 point swing.

  8. Perhaps, but to me, the number one reason why the Eagles lost this game was because on fourth and inches near midfield in the first half, Pederson elected to punt the ball back to Seattle. His refusal to go for it on that series emboldened the Seahawks and took the momentum away from his own players, and the Eagles never recovered.

  9. bzingha says:
    December 4, 2017 at 7:44 am
    Let’s be clear, though. The turning point was Wentz’ fumble. Instead of 10-10 game, it was 17-3 after the Seahawks took the possession after the touchback in for a score. A 14 point swing.

    ————————

    It wasn’t any one thing, although that was an important turnover. The Eagles offense basically killed the clock the entire first half waiting for their defense to win it for them. The failure to go for it on 4th down at the end of the half and then going for it on 4th and 3 deep in Seattle territory with plenty of time left, etc, etc.

  10. bzingha says:

    Let’s be clear, though. The turning point was Wentz’ fumble. Instead of 10-10 game, it was 17-3 after the Seahawks took the possession after the touchback in for a score. A 14 point swing.
    ################

    That fumble cost the Eagles at most 7 points.

    But to claim a 14 point swing is disingenuous. The Hawks needed to make an 80 yard drive to get their next TD.

    Even if Wentz had scored a TD on that play, the Hawks could have driven the field after the ensuing kickoff starting from the 25 just as easily.

    So at most a 7 point swing, maybe a 3 point swing and possibly no swing at all.

  11. Timeouts are valuable, especially in close games. But sometimes coaches way overvalue them. That’s a huge play with enough reasonable doubt to risk that timeout.

  12. Wentz has 8 fumbles himself this year. A stat largely ignored.
    ——-
    Lots of things are ignored when one is winning. Literally everything is highlighted when one loses.
    Sports talk 101. People get paid to follow these unspoken rules.

  13. I would ask for an explanation from the league on that first review that he lost because on the replays it looked like a clear first down to me.

    =====

    I’d like explanation too because the broadcast was even confusing. Is it when he was hit? or when it became a catch? Once both feet were on the ground and the catch was completed he was short of the marker. If its when he caught it and then hit in air then yes he had the first down. Guess this all falls in to the no one knows what and where is something considered a catch.

  14. Lets stop all this right now the Eagles lost plain an simple, I’m sure that someone told him that it wasn’t an illegal forward pass the guy was behind Wilson when he pitched it backwards.

  15. In real time it did look close enough that it was backwards by the way Russel and Davis were aligned, but when you look at slow-motion replay it was a lot closer. Enough to make them look at it. But the fumble on the goalline by Wentz probably was the turning point in the game if not lost him the MVP race.

  16. Looked like a perfect “old-school” 70’s or 80’s option football pitch. The RB was running two yards behind the QB at the moment of the pitch. Barry Switzer and every old OU wishbone QB would have said it was executed perfectly.

  17. I will make the case that only reviewing scoring and turnover plays get reviewed is just about the dumbest rule ever thought of. A play that goes 80 yards and takes the play to the 1 isn’t reviewed, but the play where the FB runs it in for 1 yard is? Ridiculous

    Not really sure how to fix the problem, but here is an idea: give each coach unlimited challenges–on any play, including penalties, but as soon as he loses one, he can’t call any more.

  18. @whybotherifeverythinggetscensored says:
    ===================================================================================
    Nobody’s talking about review, we’re talking about challenging the play that it was an illegal forward pass.

  19. I agree with bzingha. The real turning point was Wentz’ fumble. But Pedersen’s conservatism (which I believe was indeed reviewable, despite the Google interpretation of the rules) did help cost the Eagles that game. I’m not an Eagles’ fan, but as an NFL fan hoping to see the best teams play the best football without the help of the refs and poor scheduling, I hope this serves as a wake up call for Pedersen so that he doesn’t pull a “Quinn in February” and lose by trying not to lose, like he did last night. Way to conservative and tight.

  20. @Mr. Wright 212 says:

    Learn physics.

    It was a lateral.
    ===========================================================================================================
    Mr. Wright you are wrong. He pitched it at the 47 and it was caught at the 48 therefore making it an illegal FORWARD pass.

  21. That loss stings but this need needed to be challenged . Let’s see how the rebound in LA . As good as Wentz has been, Wilson looks like the MVP. No other qb could have done what he did last night . The eagles pressured him all game and he bought enough time to either get our corners to commit penalties or break down in coverage . Luckily if we meet again it will be at the Linc. Still hope we avoid such a meeting . Also Bobby Wagner is the best linebacker I’ve seen since Willis.

  22. The sky is falling in Philadelphia. Relax Philly fan. Nothing magical really happens if the Birds win or lose. Pretty sure you all had to go to work today and get your kids off to school. Pretty sure Wentz and cox didn’t take the kids to school today. Would definitely not let cox take the kids to school, that guy is suspect. They’re a nice team and a nice story, but may not be as good as they think they are. Red Flag on Alshon after that big contract, too.

  23. Nobody’s talking about review, we’re talking about challenging the play that it was an illegal forward pass.
    ========================================
    Either review every play or none is my point. Btw, there had to be a sideline ref (judge?) around the play–are these refs afraid to throw flags?

  24. He made two poor decisions on challenges. The first to challenge the first down spot when they were going for it regardless. First down challenges are the hardest to overturn. Second was the forward pass. Seattle scored that drive and that was the end of the game. Otherwise it likely would have been a punt and the outcome could have been different.

  25. I completely understand Pederson. Everything happened fast. He had already lost one challenge. Plus, there’s no guarantee they would have reversed it, regardless of what the video “proves”. The Eagles haven’t made very many mistakes this year. Nobody is perfect. Wentz’ goal line fumble is what really hurt. These two could meet in Philly in a few weeks to decide who goes to the super bowl.

  26. Oh please. All week the Eagles, their fans and the national media looked past the Seahawks, who despite losing two stellar players from their defensive secondary still have plenty of above-average talent, and who still play in one of the league’s most challenging venues. The Eagles lost because they believed their own hype. We’ll see if Philadelphia gets any wiser by the second leg of their West coast swing.

  27. TheGuru says:
    December 4, 2017 at 9:02 am
    @Mr. Wright 212 says:

    Learn physics.

    It was a lateral.
    ===========================================================================================================
    Mr. Wright you are wrong. He pitched it at the 47 and it was caught at the 48 therefore making it an illegal FORWARD pass.
    ***************************************************
    By this standard, any player trying to lateral the ball to another player, must come to a complete stop to do so. Wilson was running full speed and pitched it backwards and the momentum carried it forward. While technically against the rules, you’ll never get that call when the ball and the receiver of the pitch were both behind Wilson the entire time.

  28. It just seems that in this day and age we should have a better system for getting a higher percentage of calls correct. Why can’t each officiating crew have several members of their crew in a video replay room in stadium, and on the same mic system as the officials, they can call game live as it happens, and add insight during refs huddles using the same angles the rest of the world has, and should be able to do it in a timely fashion. It just baffles me that a 100 billion dollar business can’t figure this out.

  29. It wasn’t one thing. The non challenge was a problem. The challenge he lost was too, but in reality he clearly should have won it. I don’t know what the league office was looking at there. But it was also Wentz not playing his best, the fumble, the play calling, penalties committed and the officiating. I thought it was highly suspect, but in hindsight it was much worse than I thought. So many phantom and ticky tack calls and most importantly, blatantly missed calls (hands to the face was a major one). Worst of all, they were often at critical times.

    Overall, just a terrible game in total. But I have faith this team will bounce back.

  30. The first challenge that Pederson lost was a stupid one. He was going to go for it on 4th down regardless. He wasted a challenge and a timeout for nothing and made it even worse when he didn’t challenge a call that he would have won, but failed to challenge because he lost the first challenge. Poor excuse, Dougie!

  31. I think Seattle had the momentum right from the start in this game. Philly never really got it going last night. They did not look like the best team in the NFL…not even close.

  32. Despite the calls, it shows Philly still has a ways to go. Two road losses (KC & Seattle) which are tough places to play and a win in Carolina. Gotta beat Rams in LA. But give Russell Wilson his due…he is still underrated. He’s the only reason they are in the hunt.

  33. This is always the difference, isn’t it? Not this specific call, but all those little things that separate the talented teams from those who are seriously battle-tested.

    You see it every time the Pats beat the Steelers or Chiefs. The Seahawks have a way of doing this to teams, too.

  34. Eagle’s lost to the legion of BO….imagine if KAM and Sherman were there. They miss Marcus Smith and Byron Maxwell. But It is OK Philly fan. Life goes on. chill.

  35. The Eagles managed to score 10 points against a seriously depleted Seahawks defense last night. Meanwhile the Saints are clicking on all cylinders. Pats/Saints SB people…..it will be a good one!

  36. I think Doug P has problems thinking strategy and he needs to reevaluate how he strategies in game. He needs to be able think 3 4 moves in advance. I have two examples

    The first challenge was not needed to be used, if he was planning on going for it anyway. It was not at a crucial point in the game. This set him up for being timid in a more crucial time. So you act aggressive when it’s not crucial and then act timid when it is crucial?!?!?! Doug needs to realize losing a challenge early in the third will affect his willingness to use challenges at a more crucial time later in the game….so either don’t challenge there because you don’t need to, or don’t let it change your aggressive challenge calling

    The 4th and 3 call to go for it when you are in field goal range…..on 3rd and three you throw a quick slant to zach ertz who was in blanketed coverage, so much so he gets knocked out of the game with a concussion on the play. Great play call if you’re kicking a field goal if you don’t make it…not a great play call if you’re planning on going for it on fourth down. The eagles had been running it fairly solid for the entire game and a run on third down sets up a 4th and short play where the Eagles are perfect. Seems like when the Eagles did not make that third down slant, Doug in the heat of the moment said “f it lets go for it.” Take the points or run it on third and 3 to try and set up going for it on fourth and short.

  37. Look, it probably did travel somewhat forward. I’m not sure they had a perfect angle from the camera to overturn it. Plus, they only had one challenge left. It probably came down to one coach upstairs to decide to challenge or not and that guy was indecisive. I would’ve challenged it though, but that’s just me. The first challenge that Philly lost though…I thought that was the right call. He catches the ball in the air past the first down marker BUT his feet come down BEHIND the marker. That wasn’t a good challenge in my opinion. Regardless, you are still a great team, Eagles fans. You still have as good a shot at a SB as anyone. Seattle needed this win a lot more than you did.

  38. The people who still think that was an “illegal forward pass” are the same people who used to make like George Blanda in class with those triangular paper “footballs” during physics class in high school.

  39. orangepoison43 says:
    December 4, 2017 at 10:08 am
    A really bad call.
    Wentz is a great QB
    Pederson is a nincompoop.

    ———–

    Wentz looked barely mediocre last night…..I was expecting a lot more…..especially given the absences of Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman

  40. I’m positively convinced this is where the least knowledgeable football fans come to comment. Anyone who thinks that was not a forward pass should stop watching the games and become soccer fans.

  41. mysportsrumors says:
    December 4, 2017 at 8:29 am
    I would ask for an explanation from the league on that first review that he lost because on the replays it looked like a clear first down to me.

    =====

    I’d like explanation too because the broadcast was even confusing. Is it when he was hit? or when it became a catch? Once both feet were on the ground and the catch was completed he was short of the marker. If its when he caught it and then hit in air then yes he had the first down. Guess this all falls in to the no one knows what and where is something considered a catch.
    ________

    I don’t know the answer but it seems to me the catch is completed where he gets both feet down, not where he is hit. If a catch is made on the sideline but the defender pushes the receiver out of bounds before his feet touch down in bounds, it’s not a catch. The same principle should apply in the field of play, so if the receiver is pushed back before coming down with the ball, the catch should be marked where his feet come down.

  42. Look at the replay of the lateral. Wilson clearly tosses the ball behind him, but the ball winds up being caught a yard ahead of where it was tossed. This is because the ball is moving forward as Wilson is running so momentum keeps it going forward even though it was tossed backwards. I don’t know what the rule is, but it seems ridiculous to require the quarterback to throw the ball so far behind him that it overcomes his momentum. These guys are going to need a PhD in physics and make split-second mental calculations just to pitch the ball to a trailing player.

  43. whybotherifeverythinggetscensored,
    Your answer is item “e” in your post. a forward pass is only legal when behind the line of scrimmage.

    Mr. Wright 212,
    It was an illegal forward pass. The rule compares the release point and the catch point to the field, not the players. Sure, Wilson remained ahead of the guy who caught the ball but that is only because Wilson was going forward faster than the ball was. Find a replay online and pause it when the ball is just leaving Wilson’s hand. Note where on the field that was. If it helps, use a ruler or something parallel to one of the visible yard lines. Push play again and note where the ball is caught in relation to the field (not Wilson). If that point is further upfield than the release point then it is an illegal forward pass. It might LOOK like a lateral because you are focusing on the players and not the field but that ball certainly moved FORWARD from the release point.

  44. Mistake? I say after what I saw yesterday in the Pack game that the coach of the bucks is the biggest mistake in football. What he did and decision making or lack of was mindless. He was the reason they lost because he made dumb ass mistakes all day long.
    You stopped the other team on their 35 with 25 seconds left in a tie game and you dont call time out to at least field a kick and try to get in FG range? No you wait until the clock has 7 seconds on it then call the time out. That was one of the brightest moves he did.
    No the Pack better beware of the browns they will not be worse than the bucks.

  45. Rule 8 Section 1:
    DEFINITION: It is a forward pass if the ball initially moves forward (toward the opponent’s goal line)after leaving the passer’s hand,

    The ball left Wilson’s hands at the 47, it was caught at the 48 therefore = ILLEGAL PASS.

  46. That was really not obvious because Wilson was traveling so fast, the vector from Wilson to the receiver was backwards. However relative to the ground yes it was foward.

    There are so few laterals in the NFL (never understood why), I get why coaches and refs arent as sharp on them as other situations.

  47. Let’s not over think this guys. The players are moving, the refs are moving, the ball is moving, the cameras are moving…Philly only has seconds to analyze the replay as Seattle runs to the line to snap the ball…It’s easy to say hours later that it should’ve been challenged. Is the camera perfectly positioned at the 47 or its it at the 48? Or do we even know where it is? If it’s at the 49 or 50 it would give the illusion of traveling forward wouldn’t it? Or would being at the 46 give that illusion? It’s not perfect guys, it never will be perfect. It’s the best we got though.

  48. Who was the OC for the Eagles last night? Greg Roman? The reason they lost is because they gave away the first half with a too conservative offense…The coaches thought they had the 2000 Ravens defense I guess….

  49. Moronic argument. Do this: Run with a football down the field. At the 47 yard line lateral it. If the ball doesn’t land at the 48 or 49 or even 50 yard line then you weren’t running.

  50. In the field of play the ball is supposed to be spotted where forward progress is stopped regardless of when the feet touch the ground. Thats why when a player jumps over a pile of guys & crosses the end zone even if he’s thrown back into the field of play it’s still a touchdown.

  51. FinFan68 says:
    December 4, 2017 at 10:36 am
    whybotherifeverythinggetscensored,
    Your answer is item “e” in your post. a forward pass is only legal when behind the line of scrimmage.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    First, I know that a forward pass is only legal behind the line of scrimmage.

    Second, you are asking them to go back and rule on a missed penalty that was not called. THEY DO NOT DO THAT. When have you EVER seen a penalty called as a result of a replay? Never.

  52. If a Sunday night primetime game moment is too big for Peterson, what chance do the Eagles have if they reach the SB and face Belichick? I mean it will be chess versus marbles not even checkers.

  53. stylzinc says:
    December 4, 2017 at 11:20 am
    In the field of play the ball is supposed to be spotted where forward progress is stopped regardless of when the feet touch the ground. Thats why when a player jumps over a pile of guys & crosses the end zone even if he’s thrown back into the field of play it’s still a touchdown.
    ______

    Big difference between determining where a ball carrier is down and determining where a pass was caught.

  54. It was NOT a forward pass. The rule states that only the initial direction of the pitch matters, which was clearly backwards. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE THE BALL ENDED UP. A players forward momentum will dictate that the ball will end up forward of the initial pitch point. That’s not even simple high school physics, it’s simple playground physics.

    Please read Rule 3, Section 22, Article 4 of the NFL rule book.

    It wasn’t called or challenged BECAUSE IT WASN’T A FORWARD PASS.

  55. whybotherifeverythinggetscensored says:
    December 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Second, you are asking them to go back and rule on a missed penalty that was not called. THEY DO NOT DO THAT. When have you EVER seen a penalty called as a result of a replay? Never.
    ________

    12 men on the field.

  56. Roll down your car window, while parked, and spit out sideways. The spit went sideways, in both yours and the earth frames of reference. Now, go just a few mph and repeat. In your frame of reference it went sideways, but relative to everything else it is going forward. To Wilson, it went sideways, but to a fixed observer (the field and its markings) it still had a forward component. For Wilson to send it truly sideways, relative to the field, he has to compensate and toss it such that it has a backward component that compensates for his own forward motion. The faster he tosses it, the less backward the component has to be.

    It was a forward pass.

  57. “That’s not even simple high school physics, it’s simple playground physics.”

    …Since when has that factored in to the NFL’s rules? 😉

  58. What are you saving the darn challenge for?

    That was as key a play as there was – only hope
    to get back in the game.

  59. It was a forward lateral. The no call made up for the no call when Richardson got his head nearly ripped off on a ball that he likely would have caught that forced a 4th down punt for the Seahawks. The refs or the missed calls, however, weren’t the reason the Eagles lost. The Seahawks were the better team last night. That’s it.

  60. hardheadedrb says:

    December 4, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Looked like a perfect “old-school” 70’s or 80’s option football pitch. The RB was running two yards behind the QB at the moment of the pitch. Barry Switzer and every old OU wishbone QB would have said it was executed perfectly.

    Sure, if the QB was behind the line of scrimmage when he pitched it. But once he crosses the line of scrimmage it becomes an illegal forward pass.

  61. Plenty of bad calls went against both teams…did it matter, not really look at the score. I also think its funny people talking about the Wentz fumble instead of Seahawks ripping the ball from his hands.

  62. “But the fumble on the goalline by Wentz probably was the turning point in the game if not lost him the MVP race.”

    Oh, I dunno. He’s still my MVP but I’m a Hawks fan.

  63. whybotherifeverythinggetscensored says:
    December 4, 2017 at 11:21 am
    FinFan68 says:
    December 4, 2017 at 10:36 am
    whybotherifeverythinggetscensored,
    Your answer is item “e” in your post. a forward pass is only legal when behind the line of scrimmage.
    ________________________________________
    First, I know that a forward pass is only legal behind the line of scrimmage.

    Second, you are asking them to go back and rule on a missed penalty that was not called. THEY DO NOT DO THAT. When have you EVER seen a penalty called as a result of a replay? Never.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    They call 12 men on the field. Google it and you will find a video of it being called against the Seahawks after the Packers failed to get a first down on 3rd and 1. If you want a more specific example, they reviewed the music city miracle for the exact reason in this article. They ruled it was a lateral but they still reviewed it…and that was before there was a mandate to review every scoring play.

  64. seahawkboymike says:
    December 4, 2017 at 11:51 am
    It was NOT a forward pass. The rule states that only the initial direction of the pitch matters, which was clearly backwards. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE THE BALL ENDED UP. A players forward momentum will dictate that the ball will end up forward of the initial pitch point. That’s not even simple high school physics, it’s simple playground physics.

    Please read Rule 3, Section 22, Article 4 of the NFL rule book.

    It wasn’t called or challenged BECAUSE IT WASN’T A FORWARD PASS.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    OK, here…

    ARTICLE 4. FORWARD PASS
    It is a forward pass if:

    the ball initially moves forward (to a point nearer the opponent’s goal line) after leaving the passer’s hand(s); or
    the ball first touches the ground, a player, an official, or anything else at a point that is nearer the opponent’s goal line than the point at which the ball leaves the passer’s hand(s).
    When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional movement forward of his hand starts a forward pass…
    ARTICLE 5. BACKWARD PASS
    It is a Backward Pass if the yard line at which the ball is first touched by a player or the ground is parallel to or behind the yard line at which the ball leaves the passer’s hand. A snap becomes a backward pass when the snapper releases the ball.

  65. Why argue whether Wilson’s lateral was a forward pass. Pederson had the option to throw the red flag and didn’t. End of story.

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