During Sunday night’s Colts-Texans game, a strange call occurred when Houston kickoff returner Keshawn Martin fumbled and the officials ruled on the field that Indianapolis recovered, only to have the referee look at the replay and rule that the Texans would keep the ball because the Colts’ LaVon Brazill touched the ball when he was out of bounds.
Now the Colts say the NFL has admitted the call was wrong. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said today that the NFL informed him that the ruling on the field should not have been overturned.
If the NFL has, in fact, informed the Colts that the call was wrong, the NFL should also come forward publicly and inform the fans that the call was wrong. That was a confusing play, and although referee Bill Vinovich claimed the ball touched Brazill’s foot while Brazill’s arm was out of bounds, the replay didn’t appear to show that conclusively. The fans’ frustration with NFL officiating is only compounded by a sense that the league doesn’t always fess up publicly when the officials get it wrong.
That was one of two bad calls relating to a player touching the ball that went against the Colts on Sunday night. Indianapolis was also on the wrong end of a non-call of roughing the punter, a penalty that should have been called on Houston’s Bryan Braman but wasn’t because the officials wrongly believed that Braman touched the ball before he hit Colts punter Pat McAfee.
The two blown calls were both followed by Texans touchdowns, which means the Colts could legitimately say the officials handed the Texans 14 points in the first half. The Colts ended up coming back and winning the game, and so the bad calls haven’t been discussed much this week. But if the Colts’ comeback had come up short, those two bad calls would loom very large.