Controversial call in Bucs-Fins latest example of now-common rule

We’ll been flooded with e-mails regarding a controversial call from the first half of the game between the Buccaneers and the Dolphins in Miami.

With 1:43 remaining before the half and Tampa Bay facing second and 12 on its own four, quarterback Josh Freeman threw a pass to receiver Michael Clayton, who while making the catch was knocked down.  The ball popped out just after his torso struck the ground, and Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor then was running it into the end zone.

The call on the field was an incomplete pass.  The booth called for a replay review.

And referee Tony Corrente decided that the the pass was indeed incomplete as to Clayton — and that Jason Taylor had caught the ball before it hit the ground.

The play relies upon the same rule that has applied several times this season.  When a player making a catch is going to the ground, he must maintain the possession through the act of landing.

In this case, if the call on the field had been that the pass was completed, there might not have been sufficient visual evidence to overturn it.  Here, the officials decided correctly that there was insufficient visual evidence to overturn the decision that Clayton didn’t catch it.  The question was whether Taylor caught the ball after it popped up from Clayton’s chest.

The video in that regard was clear — Taylor made the catch, and Corrente awarded possession to the Dolphins.

So the officials got it right, via replay review. 

Actually, if they’d gotten it completely right the call on the field would have been that Taylor had scored a touchdown.

25 responses to “Controversial call in Bucs-Fins latest example of now-common rule

  1. I thought the ground can’t cause a fumble.
    “through the act of landing”? When, exactly, is one “through” with their act?
    Don’t get it.

  2. There is no way in hell that you can tell me that after Clayton had both feet, his butt, his elbow and his back on the ground that he did not have possession while landing.
    Florio, if you really think that was not a catch and a terrible blown call then you should not have your job.
    Plain and simple!

  3. “Actually, if they’d gotten it completely right the call on the field would have been that Taylor had scored a touchdown.”
    Unless the whistle had already blown before he got in…. did it?

  4. Thus, even when they get it “right”, they get it wrong.
    It’s almost as if they are too nervous to make the right call, in case they’re making a wrong call, & in case they get FLAMED during the rest of the week for making a BONEHEAD mistake.
    So, what happens? They screw up, even though they get part of the decision correct, & end up getting flamed during the rest of the week for making a bonehead mistake.

  5. Sorry Florio but that ball popped out like 1 second after Clayton Roll over his body in the floor with a dolphin player over him, having possesion of the ball.
    The reffs screwed that one.

  6. I’m just waiting for all the Bucs fans from the earlier thread to come over and give the NEXT reason why they were screwed by the officials rather than just admitting their team couldn’t beat a poor Phins side.

  7. why do the officials continue to blow play’s dead prematurely? they really need to keep their whistles in their pockets. i don’t really understand what the hurry is to rule a play incomplete if the play is too close to call. they did it hear and it cost taylor a touchdown. they did the same thing against the giants a few weeks ago where they blew the play dead when the giants in fact had recovered a turnover and returned it back for a td. the officials blew the play dead and the other team (??) kept possession. don’t see why the rush to keep calling these plays dead.

  8. “insufficient visual evidence to overturn” my fat ass! What do you have to do, catch the ball, wait for room service then get up and mail the ball to frickin’ Roger Goodell? No worries though it only cost the Bucs the game. The gamblers were probably getting nervous that the fish wouldn’t cover! Just beyond awful!!!

  9. Florio, you are usually spot on but I disagree. Upon viewing the replay, I don’t understand how you can’t see that Clayton caught the ball and had control. He had control going down, and his but and elbow hit the ground. The defender came in after the fact and swiped at the football. It was pretty clear. Maybe I’m an idiot and need someone to break it down to me further so I can understand. Yes the Bucs took the lead anyhow and blew the game and THAT is what lost it for them. No excuses. But the call in the first half was horseshit.

  10. It’s a close play, but a lot of Bucs fans are just making stuff up based on what the idiot announcers said. When one foot is down, the Miami defender already has his hand on the ball. (No, the ground didn’t cause the fumble; the defender did.) For a brief second before the Miami defender obscures the view, it very much looks like the ball is already being squeezed out the bottom of his hand. He puts his left hand down. By the time his butt hits the ground and he’s rolling, the ball is more in the Miami player’s hands and then up into JT’s.
    If anything, the refs TRIED to call it for Tampa Bay. There was no whistle. One official clearly saw what happened and threw the change of possession bean bag, and then the head ref tried to run in and shut it down, calling it an incomplete pass.

  11. It was a BS call, and as much as I (and other Bucs’ fans) would love to blame this on the refs, there’s the last minute and a half of the game that we should focus on. We had the ball at their goal line, and instead of letting some clock run off, we pushed it in as soon as we could, leaving plenty of time for the Dolphins. THEN, we allowed the Dolphins to drive from their 15 to our 10 to punch in the winning FG. Did that call cost the Bucs the game? Maybe…but the Bucs inability to make a stop when it counted is what ultimately did us in…

  12. It kills me that a running back can stick his arm out and barely cross the plane with the ball and it’s a touchdown even if he drops it, but a receiver apparently has to hold on to the ball, get both feet in bounds, not drop the ball when he hits the ground, hold on to the ball after laying there for a few moments, keep eye contact with the NFL logo on the ball and recite the tuck rule for it to be a catch.

  13. It was an interesting call. I actually like both teams. It did look to me that the Phins defender ripped it out and Taylor intercepted it then. The Bucs had their chances. They just blew it in the end.
    And the person who mentioned the line is just a bit off. The Phins didn’t come close to covering the line. They were favored by 10. Try again.

  14. I am a Dolphins fan and I think they totally screwed that call. By the logic the NFL keeps applying to these catches, these players would have to never let go of ANY ball they EVER caught. There would be WR’s out there with 250 footballs tied to their shorts so they don’t get that TD call from 4 years ago called incomplete.
    The receiver was obviously down by contact and then the ball comes loose. Quite possibly the worst call I’ve EVER seen. It was made under the hood for crying out loud! That ref should loose his job.

  15. Florio you gotta be fuggin kidding me if you think the refs got that call right. That was an travesty – the NFL needs to reexamine this.

  16. Wait, so Clayton makes a rare catch while being tackled (he had control before he even started going to the ground), was downed by contact due to the tackle, had his butt and elbow hit the ground and rolled over before a second Dolphin came in and ripped it away.
    All that and somehow it’s an INT?
    The ref even stated that Clayton had posession of the ball, now if the ref says that how can it be an INT? That would be a fumble and the fact that he was tackled to the ground and rolled over all after gaining posession means he was downed by contact so it couldn’t be a fumble.
    Don’t give us this no evidence to overturn crap because he clearly states Clayton had the ball, how does Freeman throw an INT when Clayton had posession?
    I’d love someone who actually watched the play try and explain this call away. Sure we should have won anyway by stopping htem on that last drive BUT horsecrap cals like that are far too common in todays NFL.

  17. ftomeo your statement is just as ignorant as florios, I don’t know what replay you guys are looking at but the network replay clearly shows Clayton on his back with possesion all the way thru him rolling over onto his stomach when the ball then popped out, well after contact was made, and he was down by contact. you may not be a Buc fan but don’t be ignorant to the clear video facts. maybe part of the problem is the limited video available to the refs , but if that is the issue they need fix the problem.

  18. FACT: Clayton caught the ball and holds onto it until his back hit the turf.
    1. It’s ludicrous this was viewed as incomplete in the first place.
    2. Upon review, they seemingly did not revisit that point, only looking into whether Taylor got the ball before it hit the ground or not.
    This call was so bad on so many levels.
    If this was a correct interpretation of the rules, the rule in question is deeply flawed. In any of the 40+ NFL seasons before this one it would have been ruled a catch.

  19. you guys are all focusing your blame at the wrong direction. the ref got the call right – it’s the *rule* you all have a problem with.
    this is an actual rule, it’s been discussed all year but usually with regards to touchdowns. the way you can tell this is the rule and not a blown call is that they didn’t call it a fumble – that would insinuate they are not citing the ruleset that states the receiver must maintain control.
    we all may disagree with the rule, but that’s not the refs you have a problem with – talk to goodell and the NFL.

  20. Florio is wrong, as usual!!!
    The fact is he caught the ball and did maintain control of the ball to the ground and completed the catch. He then rolled over, AFTER COMPLETING THE CATCH, and was stripped by Y. Bell. The ball didnt hit the ground but that is not the point. Clayton caught the ball and MAINTAINED POSSESSION TO THE GROUND TO COMPLETE THE CATCH. He wasnt stripped until he rolled over, but that was AFTER he completed the catch….
    I know the rule about maintianing possession, BUT IN THIS CASE HE DID maintain possession to the ground, which is what the rule states. He didnt lose possession until he rolled over well after he hit the ground, so it should be a catch and down by contact. I mean what the HELL do you have to do, hand the ball to the ref!!!
    To Florio and those who think this was called correctly….check out this video (start at 1:05) and tell me im wrong….

  21. “Actually, if they’d gotten it completely right the call on the field would have been that Taylor had scored a touchdown.”
    I just thought everyone should read that again.

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