Semi-Official Review with DTF

So, with the big play that messed up an early Texans drive in the Falcons game. I thought I would put my fan brain aside and my white official hat on to talk about the "Sanders Fumble Recovery" play.

Be forewarned, sense and reason may occur after the jump.

Glad you can join us. Below for you perusal is the link to the play in question.

Texans Fumble slash Incomplete Pass slash Falcons Fumble Recovery slash Illegal Substitution Play

If you want to take the time to watch the video, you'll see a play that may seem a little familiar to us here in New Zealand. No one here who plays really grasps the rules very well, so a loose ball play where no one knows what is going on is common place.

So, to step through the play as I see it, Yates rolls out (scrambles) to his left and begins his throwing motion as the Linebacker makes contact. Now, I'm seeing a couple of issues in the slow motion. The LB makes contact with the arm while it is cocked back. The ball comes loose as the arm moves forward. So, while I'm hearing talk of the Tuck Rule, I'm seeing more of an issue with the ball possibly coming loose prior to the arm coming forward.
If the ball is knocked loose while the arm is coming forward, then you have an incomplete pass. But at any other time (except in the Tuck, which isn't an issue here) then you have a fumble. So the question has to be, "At what point is the ball dislodged."

The ball is definitely propelled forward by the QB's arm. But is it dis-lodged before starting to come forward by the contact with the Linebacker? I can only assume that the Referee thought so. It is too close for me to call, even with the benefit of multiple angles of slow motion replays. It is a split second issue, and as much I'd like to, I can't disagree with the call of the Referee. To use some Referee speak. "There is not enough indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field."

And obviously, everyone thinks it is incomplete, no officials whistle, a Falcon player picks up the ball and runs it into the Endzone. Of course, everyone else thought the ball was dead, so there were players and substitutes and coaches wandering all over the field, so while the Falcons get the ball from the Fumble Recovery, the Touchdown is dis-allowed.

I feel the Texans were both very unlucky and very lucky with the calls. It could have been an incomplete pass, but it also could have been a defensive touchdown against us. So, please be ambiguous with whatever football gods you may or may not pray to this week.

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