Kirk Cousins frustrated with grounding call officials apparently got wrong

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Kirk Cousins was not pressured when officials flagged him for intentional grounding late in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, and the rule requires that the passer face “an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense,” via Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

Thus, officials appear to have erred after Cousins took the snap at the New Orleans 34 with 31 seconds left in regulation, turned to the sideline and heaved the ball out of bounds. After the penalty, on second-and-20 with the clock running, Cousins was sacked and fumbled as time expired. New Orleans won in overtime.

Cousins said the league admitting referee Walt Coleman was wrong won’t help Washington now.

“The letter to Bruce Allen, or whatever they do to say ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ or whatever it may be, you know, it’s tough,” Cousins said Monday on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly segment. “Because there’s nobody bringing that up in February and March when we’re making decisions about which direction to go with the organization.

“That’s the kind of thing that, we appreciate the clarification, but it really doesn’t do much. I mean, this is our careers. This is our livelihood. This is what we do. It just is frustrating when a letter is really all you get, when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives, when we’re in it and doing it every day.”

Cousins said the play call was a designed run, but coach Jay Gruden killed it when he saw the defense. That left Cousins, with no timeouts, to try to get rid of the ball and save as much time as possible.

“The whole point we’re calling a run is to run it,” Cousins said. “If we want to throw it, we’d call a pass. I’m at the line of scrimmage and I see Jay kind of on the sidelines, and I see what I think to be in the noise. I mean, I can’t really hear him, but I see him say ‘throw it.’ And I’m assuming what he meant is the play’s dead; the run’s not going to work. If anything, we’re going to lose yards, and right now, on the 34-yard line, yards are precious.

“And I’m thinking, well, [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally just throw it over their heads, they’re in the area; they’re eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I’m not under pressure, it’s not intentional grounding, because I’m not really at risk of a sack, so I can just throw it in their general direction, and because I’m not under pressure and because they’re in the area, it won’t matter. And you saw what happened.”

70 responses to “Kirk Cousins frustrated with grounding call officials apparently got wrong

  1. what almost every redskins fans sees! when the game is in his hands kirk cousins will wet the bed. Skip Bayless is right on the money with this guy!

  2. If the NFL wants to get its viewer numbers back up, they could start by having players on the field determine who wins and loses. Right now, most games are up to the referees. One bad call here and there, in a league where most teams are in the middle (in terms of quality) means that referees are determining the outcome of most games.

  3. When that play happened, I was thinking the same thing that it isn’t intentional grounding if the QB is not under pressure, which he wasn’t. Brutal call.

  4. Redskins got screwed. But honestly made enough mistake in the last three minutes so that I don’t think we can complain all that much about the botched call. Refs should be held accountable though

  5. “That left Cousins, with no timeouts, to try to get rid of the ball and save as much time as possible.”

    So he was getting rid of the ball……….. Grounding

  6. If that would have been Brees and the Saints, the flag would have been picked up.

    It’s unfortunate for the Redskins, but they put themselves in that position in the first place.

  7. Translation: “We were unprepared to run the right play.” Looks like the Saints were though. It’s easy to blame the refs, but how about giving the Saints credit for having the right defense called and forcing you into doing something you didn’t want to do. And news flash: Saints were coming after you…”imminent loss” seems to be a judgement call in my opinion.

  8. If Kirk is admitting he wanted to abort the called run play and stop the clock why not just ground it like everyone else does by spiking it right in front of him? Refs may have blown the call but only the Redskins could screw this up. Also they would have had a timeout left had they not challenged an obvious catch.

  9. The problem continues to a league which tries to look good by fining and suspending players instead of focusing on getting it right. The play took place in the last 2 minutes. The play could have been “reviewed” as are all questionable calls in the last 2 minutes. Yeah I know this is not normally reviewable, but play could have been stopped by the league office.

  10. whodatnmyrtleb says:
    November 20, 2017 at 4:23 pm
    “That left Cousins, with no timeouts, to try to get rid of the ball and save as much time as possible.”

    So he was getting rid of the ball……….. Grounding
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    did you not read the story? Grounding requires him to be under pressure which the league agreed he was not. Incorrect call.

  11. Both Crowder & Doctson ran the passing routes to the left & Cousins threw the ball to the right sideline….the correct call was made….

  12. So if you decided that you should “just throw it” because the “play was dead”, why not just spike the ball?

    Ya done goofed!

  13. If Kirk Cousins and the almighty genius Gruden could have made the 3rd and 1 play before the 2 minute warning, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

    This team has no concept on how to manage the game at the end of a half or with less than 6 minutes in the game. It baffles me that this team can continue to lose the same way time and again. The fact that Kirk Cousins admits that he was trying to interpret what the coach wanted him to do opposed to paying attention to what the defense is showing him says a lot.

  14. How about the rest of the game, Kirk? Maybe your defense should have preserved at least some portion of a 15-point lead with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

  15. I am a Eagles fan and that call was horrible! If Walt Coleman was UNSURE he should have immediately gone to an official review. But he blew it! They don’t even know all the rules or interpretation of rules.
    That cost the Redskins the game. The Saints are a DOME Arena league team! Yes they have played better on the road this year but they are in NO WAY the same team on the road. 8 guaranteed games in that arena league DOME!

  16. Not a fan of either team but this is another example of how officiating can and many times does, change outcomes of games. I’m an old man sitting on my couch and know that wasn’t a penalty. How do NFL officials who get paid to make those calls correctly, consistently get them wrong? Tough to watch this continued incompetence.

  17. If he had held onto that ball 2 seconds longer he was toast. The reality of it is that he panicked under pressure and made a decision that put his team in a bad place, and ultimately cost them the game.

  18. We just need to get this Referee strike over with so we can get the real ones back on the field. You know, the ones that all the experts told us were soooo much better than the replacement officials. The experts, right?

  19. rule requires the passer face “an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense”
    ——————
    But nowhere in the rules does it define what imminent and pressure is. It doesn’t require a defender about to sack him etc. The “pressure” could simply be that all his targets are covered and a defender so positioned to stop him running it back to at least the line of scrimmage. If the QB thus faces a loss of yards by running with it and so throws it to a part of the field where no eligible guy is, that can easily be interpreted as him being “pressured” into doing so to avoid an imminent loss of yards.

  20. Can’t say I have a lot of sympathy. Tony Romo got called for grounding in the same setup (no pressure), but that was on the would-be game-winning drive at the end of the 2007 division round game against the Giants. Dallas was driving smoothly for the win and the call ruined the momentum, and nobody said boo about it then (because everyone understandably hates Dallas). If it didn’t matter enough then, it definitely doesn’t matter enough now.

  21. Good qbs like Brady, Rodgers and Brees would have argued with the refs when the call was wrong. Cousins just accepted it on the field. Too late.

  22. fartweasel says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm
    Not a fan of either team but this is another example of how officiating can and many times does, change outcomes of games. I’m an old man sitting on my couch and know that wasn’t a penalty. How do NFL officials who get paid to make those calls correctly, consistently get them wrong? Tough to watch this continued incompetence.

    ————————–

    I’ve been watching the game a long time as well and I still haven’t seen why it shouldn’t be a penalty. To date, I have not heard that the league issued a letter apologizing, just unnamed league sources in a tweet.

    A normal reaction in the situation that Cousins is describing would’ve just been to spike it after the snap instead of what he did.

  23. Easily the right call. The real question is what were they really trying to do on offense? They wet the bed just like Shanahan/Falcons calling passing plays when the fg opportunity is there for the taking. Also they were sloppy, missing a chance at another fg because their lineman didn’t know the snap count. And they won the toss in overtime and did NADA! Don’t blame the refs.

  24. thetundraturf says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm
    If he had held onto that ball 2 seconds longer he was toast.
    —————————————————–
    This makes 0 sense. If a QB clocking the ball holds it 2 seconds longer he is toast too.

  25. Busted play. If he holds it any longer he loses yardage and takes a sack. You don’t just throw it out of bounds to no receiver when things are going your play.

    He saw it was a busted play and said “oh crap! I better ditch this ball because things are fixing to get real bad, real fast, if I don’t.” Sure, maybe that’s not “immediate” danger of a loss due to a sack, but 2 or 3 seconds of time sure does feel “immediate” when you’ve got a bunch of 300 pound dudes coming for you.

    The call may not have followed the letter of the law, but whether or not he was in “imminent” danger of a sack is a subjective idea to be judged by the refs on the field. The spirit of the call was dead on. KC new he was fixing to get swarmed on a busted play and threw it away to no receiver trying to avoid taking the hit. Why else would he throw it there? There were NO RECEIVERS there.

  26. rjth2012 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm
    The Saints are a DOME Arena league team! Yes they have played better on the road this year but they are in NO WAY the same team on the road. 8 guaranteed games in that arena league DOME!

    ————————————————————————————-

    I look forward to the Eagles v Saints playoff game, where we will find out. Remember, the Saints are a running team now who tend to do well outside.

  27. rjth2012 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm
    I am a Eagles fan and that call was horrible! If Walt Coleman was UNSURE he should have immediately gone to an official review. But he blew it! They don’t even know all the rules or interpretation of rules.
    That cost the Redskins the game. The Saints are a DOME Arena league team! Yes they have played better on the road this year but they are in NO WAY the same team on the road. 8 guaranteed games in that arena league DOME!
    ___________________

    Just wanted to point out to this Renowned Football Scholar that the Saints have won their last 4 away games, all have which been outdoors, including shutting out Miami in London

  28. The grounding rules are a mess. This should be cleaned up so it makes clear sense or done away with.

  29. It was an immediate pass. No way to rule that he was under imminent pressure. How many quick hit throws have we seen where the receiver turns the wrong way and the ball sails out if bounds to no one? 3 per game? The only difference this time was that Sean Payton (what ever happened to the investigation of the Saints staff stealing narcotics from the medical staff?) begged for the call from the refs after the play and they were gullible enough to give it to him.

    Spiking the ball is covered under the intentional grounding rule. Something about it having to be under center and one continuous motion from receiving the ball from the center.

  30. How bout on 3rd & a foot with 2:30 remaining, you run the qb sneak like we’ve seen Tom Brady do 1,000x? Not Gruden, he calls the off tackle run behind Morgan Moses who’s got 2 bad ankles been hobbling the last 3 games!!!
    QB sneak get a first down, run the clock out. Game Over.
    Coaching decisions cost Washington the game, not the refs

  31. Sorry but why are the Skins even throwing the ball there. They were already in Field goal range. Just run the ball and set up an easier field goal. No sympathy for stupid.

  32. A horribly officiated game. Seems the calls were for the Redskins in the first half and for the Saints in the second. I also believe that ALL calls should be reviewable. Also, has anyone else noticed the loud stadium music/sound effects doesn’t stop now until the ball is set. You really don’t need to make noise in the stands while the opposing team is in the huddle

  33. its not the refs fault the skins let Drew go like 16/16 for 200 yards and 2 TD’s in the last 3 minutes of the game

  34. I’m not going to give Kirk points for being situationally aware given that the next play with 18 seconds left and a running clock he didn’t snap the ball for 8 seconds meaning that they probably only had one play and gave up any chance of being able to spike the ball if a play ended up in bounds. It’s pretty clear Kirk didn’t know the clock was running.

    Also if he actually needed to kill the clock he would have done it instantly and not after second and he would have either gone under centre and spiked it or taken a step back and thrown it at his backs feet.

  35. Can they replay the game from that point? That’s the only fair thing to do. It’s not enough to say the officials erred. There needs to be someone in the head office available to overrule wrong calls like that that decide a game

  36. The rules are pretty clear. For clocking it, it has to be one continuous motion. If he wants to throw it away like he did, he needs to sprint outside of the tackle box and make sure it goes beyond the line of scrimmage. Not sure why people are calling for reviews on subjective calls, quoting anonymous NFL sources who weren’t tasked with making such subjective calls, or blaming this loss on the officials, when the rule leaves it up to the official to make, yes, you guessed it, a subjective call. Cousins all but admitted that he grounded it, deliberately.

    The age of taking personal responsibility for the outcome of a situation is over. Brees or Brady wouldn’t need to benefit from favorable calls in a situation like this because they have the awareness to not risk a subjective call from a ref, so they would make sure they were outside the tackle box and within the confines of the ruleset they are playing under.

  37. metitometin says:
    November 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm
    Can they replay the game from that point? That’s the only fair thing to do. It’s not enough to say the officials erred. There needs to be someone in the head office available to overrule wrong calls like that that decide a game
    —–

    Blithering…textbook blithering

  38. rjth2012 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm
    I am a Eagles fan and that call was horrible! If Walt Coleman was UNSURE he should have immediately gone to an official review. But he blew it! They don’t even know all the rules or interpretation of rules.
    That cost the Redskins the game. The Saints are a DOME Arena league team! Yes they have played better on the road this year but they are in NO WAY the same team on the road. 8 guaranteed games in that arena league DOME!
    —————————–
    Guess you don’t recall the “Dome” Saints coming into Philly on a cold January night in the 2013 and putting a whooping on your boys in green? Your theory seems to be based on wishful thinking, and we heard the same thing in 2013 so if I were you I wouldn’t bank too much on your viewpoint.

  39. All we know about this “letter” from the NFL saying they got the call wrong is a tweet from a reporter who says there’s a letter. A reporter who is a shill for the Redskins.

    Second, he was under imminent threat. Once he saw it was a busted play, he had NOBODY to throw the ball to. If he hadn’t tried to ditch the ball where there was no receiver, his line would have collapsed in another second or two. A Pro Bowl Defensive End was totally unlocked on the play. He jumped us to defect the pass, if he had continued running and the ball had not been thrown, Cousins would have been sacked.


  40. Proofreader99 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    So all Kirk Cousins is asking is that officials be perfect and never make a mistake. Got it.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Players and fans generally accept errors in judgment – e.g., ball did or did not come out before player was downed. What is not acceptable at any level is an official misapplying or not knowing a rule. Cousins was not facing “an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense.” So, yes, all consumers of the game expect the referees be perfect in knowing the rules. #notaskinsfan

  41. metitometin says:
    November 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    There needs to be someone in the head office available to overrule wrong calls like that that decide a game
    ———————-

    He’s too busy overturning catches and calls on the field.

  42. The aints who still will always have the * by their name for the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the Vikings, they straight up were cheap shots to Brett Farve which were not called because the League had made up their minds to let NO win the Super Bowl due to Hurricane Katrina and FEMA response will not be as lucky over the next 3 or 4 games. It’s a joke if anyone believes this Team is a legit Super Bowl contender, who have they beaten that has a winning record, I’ll wait. Pretenders for sure and say by the grace that f God they win their division they sure as hell will not be leaving Minnesota with a Win!

  43. It was a bad call that caused the Redskins the game…whoever made that call should not be a ref.

  44. briddes says:
    November 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm
    Good qbs like Brady, Rodgers and Brees would have argued with the refs when the call was wrong. Cousins just accepted it on the field. Too late.
    =
    Brady was called for grounding while in the end zone in the 2011 SB, which was a bs call btw.

  45. No one here is actually complaining about Gruden. It’s his indecisiveness that cause all of this to happen. Gruden panics at the end of halves and games. We need a closing coach.

  46. It was a BS call for sure. The Redskins had about 5 chances to put that game away and this was one of them, the other 4 were on the Skins though.

  47. beatdownclown says:
    November 21, 2017 at 3:45 am
    The aints who still will always have the * by their name for the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the Vikings, they straight up were cheap shots to Brett Farve which were not called because the League had made up their minds to let NO win the Super Bowl due to Hurricane Katrina and FEMA response will not be as lucky over the next 3 or 4 games. It’s a joke if anyone believes this Team is a legit Super Bowl contender, who have they beaten that has a winning record, I’ll wait. Pretenders for sure and say by the grace that f God they win their division they sure as hell will not be leaving Minnesota with a Win!

    Did the league tell AP to fumble the ball 3 times?

    Did the league tell the Vikings to put 12 men in the huddle?

    Did the league tell Favre to throw across the field instead of running for a 1st down?

    The Vikings were not flagged for some late hits on Brees as well!

    And if the league were going to ‘gift’ the Saints a Super Bowl win, why not do it in 2006 when the Saints made it to their first NFCC game instead of waiting 4 years?

    Were the 13 teams the Saints beat to earn the #1 seed in on it as well?

    The Saints have beaten 8 teams in a row, including the Panthers and Bills on the road, Miami in London.

    You sound like a whiny failclowns fan still butt hurt over blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history!

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