Gates touchdown should have been reviewed by the referee

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To cap a game-opening drive that saw the Chargers playing the role of red-hot serrated Ginsu blade to Kansas City’s room-temperature generic margarine, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates for a 14-yard touchdown pass.

Every score is now reviewed in the booth.  If the replay assistant sees anything to suggest that the ruling on the field should be overturned, the replay assistant must buzz down to the referee for an on-field look-see.

Here, Gates caught the ball inside the one, near the pylon.  As soon as the ball hit his hands, safety Eric Berry hit Gates, who turned as he started to fall and pushed the ball with his right hand only over the goal line.

But Berry successfully dragged Gates down and as he fell he squeezed the ball with his right hand, it popped out of his control, and clearly struck the ground as he was landing.

The explanation could be that Gates caught the ball in the field of play and made a “football move” by pushing the ball with one hand over the plane, ending the play before he lost control.  Still, it all happened too quickly for the replay assistant to determine that the call indisputably was correct.  At a minimum, then, it should have been reviewed by referee Alberto Riveron on the field.

It’s entirely possible that the replay assistant opted not to open Pandora’s Box by hitting the buzzer.  Referees have struggled in the past with the rules regarding the completion of a pass while the player is going to the ground and performing a “second act,” with Riveron once incorrectly overturning a correct ruling on the field that a pass was incomplete and giving the Jaguars a touchdown.

Though the procedures likely required a full-blown, on-field review in this case, the replay assistant may have decided to protect Riveron from making another mistake by overturning a call that, while close, probably was correct.

UPDATE 9:00 p.m. ET:  NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos says via Twitter that, in his view, the pass should have been ruled incomplete.

31 responses to “Gates touchdown should have been reviewed by the referee

  1. Watching the game and I saw the same thing. It looked to me like the ball was coming loose as Gates went to push it over the goal line and he just continued to lose control of it all the way down.

    However, I just assumed that they reviewed it and saw it differently.

  2. …”ending the play before he lost control” If you poll long-time NFLers, they will tell you that the play does end when pass is caught and ball is in end zone. What happens after crossing the plane is something new, which is why the Megatron TD call was blown big time. He did a lot after catching the ball, and it looked like he just let it go as he rolled. All the NFL did was change the interpretation, not the rule. Sorry, I am not a Lion fan, so get off it.

  3. i don’t agree that it was incomplete.
    he caught the ball, turnder toward the goal line, was engaged by the defender, and lost the ball as he was reaching it for the goal line. i am pretty sure it should have been a touchback, kc ball on the 20.

  4. UPDATE 9:00 p.m. ET: NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos says via Twitter that, in his view, the pass should have been ruled incomplete.

    The play is over as soon as the ball breaks the goal line, get over it already.

  5. Looked like a catch to me. How many calls do they get wrong a game anyway? It’s just against KC. Relevance?

  6. The other ridiculous thing is that had Crennel thrown the challenge flag the Chiefs would have been penalized.

  7. I’m not a oc fan, but how can they keep their best player off the field so much? Charles gets one carry and than doesn’t see the field until 6 or 7 plays later. The worst thing is that he is actually a good receiving rb. It doesn’t make any logic. I hate watching bad coaching

  8. As much good as replay does this is where it gets tricky. We are talking split second stuff here. Even the wording of this article can be called into question.
    “Here, Gates caught the ball inside the one, near the pylon. As soon as the ball hit his hands, safety Eric Berry hit Gates, who turned as he started to fall and pushed the ball with his right hand only over the goal line.”
    “Here, Gates caught the ball inside the one.”

    If Gates “caught ” the ball then he had possession. The instant the ball broke the plane it was a TD.

  9. Nice of the announce team to not even notice it…then on the next drive Mayock apparently thought the Chiefs were going for it on 4th Down when Bowe fumbled saying, “It doesn’t matter, they’re giving up the ball anyway.” It was 3rd and 15.

    Then, the national radio announcers spent a good 3 minutes scolding Norv for not challenging the punt fumble (which was confirmed by the booth).

    The standard of announcers is at an all time low.

  10. When is the NFL going to bring back the regular refs?

    These replacement officials are ruining the integrity of the game.

  11. So you’re saying that the guy in the replay booth didn’t ask for a challenge because he thought that the ref could make a better decision on the fly at full speed than he could slowing it down and watching it from every angle?

    If that had been a headline in week 2 then we would have all had a good laugh at the replacement refs, but if it’s true with the best refs out there then it’s a pretty sad indictment of the guys we begged to have back for a month.

  12. Gates caught the ball in the field of play, not the end zone. He then pushed the ball over the plane of the goal line, instantly ending the play with a TD.

    All the “second move”, “going to the ground” BS is irrelevant, as he ran into the end zone rather than catching it inside the end zone.

  13. Dang replacement refs! Learn the rules!

    You don’t lose anything by reviewing that play. They should have reviewed it. As for the fantasy football guys saying they started Gates….your season isn’t going to well is it? That is some desperation! 🙂

  14. Wait and no public outcry. If this was the replacements there would be crying all over the place. See the double standard of reporting here.

  15. Because the ball wasn’t caught in the endzone and Gates was running with the ball, once the ball breaks the plane of the end zone, it’s a touchdown. Simple.

  16. Do you mean to tell me that the regular officials could possibly make a mistake on a difficult call?

    I thought only replacement officials could do that…

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