If you’re a fan of any one of the 32 NFL teams, chances are you have complained about officiating. If you haven’t, you’re either lying or you think you know everything.
The Broncos played a heck of a game against the Seahawks, and brought themselves back from down 17-3 in the second half to tie things up at 20 apiece and eventually lose in overtime. That was a really tough pill to swallow, but the Broncos finished the game off on a really positive note at least in regulation play.
The Broncos made a heck of a comeback despite some questionable officiating, which I breezed through in my initial watching of the game but have since taken a really significant interest in. In particular, the officials in the Broncos vs. Seahawks game made an egregious error on what turned out to be the biggest play of the game, a pass that was intercepted by Kam Chancellor off of Peyton Manning.
In watching the Game Rewind, I was able to key in on the pass from Manning that was picked off by Chancellor. It was a phenomenal play by the Seattle defender, and a really foolish throw by Manning who was clearly expecting Wes Welker to break off a different route.
The Seahawks were all over it, and did what they do best, which is make clutch plays in clutch situations. However, as you can see on the back of the play that as Chancellor gets his feet down and makes a ‘receiver move’ with the ball, effectively completing the process of a catch, Wes Welker is already getting his face blasted by the forearm of Earl Thomas.
Now, the officials missed plenty of calls in this game, namely an encroachment and a missed illegal contact/pass interference by Byron Maxwell on Emmanuel Sanders. All could have altered the game in a variety of ways, but they weren’t called for whatever reason. I’m sure the Broncos got away with some things but I don’t think they got away with anything as bad as this.
NFL Official Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9.b.1 states this:
(b) Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:
(1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him
You don’t say?!
When you watch the game back, as Chancellor completes the act of a catch, Welker is getting hit illegally by Earl Thomas. At this point in the game, the Broncos were facing a 3rd-and-11 with under three minutes remaining, down by a score of 12-17. Had the officials seen this and thrown a flag as they ought have per NFL official rules, the Broncos would have been set up with a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
Had the officials seen the illegal hit and interpreted Welker as a defenseless player after the act of a catch and interception, the Seahawks would have faced a 15 yard penalty (or, half the distance to the goal) and would not have been immediately in field goal range. In fact, they would have been buried in their own territory, where the Broncos could have gotten a stop and had a chance at a drive down by five points instead of eight.
I’m not going to excuse Peyton Manning’s throw, because it was awful. He deserved an interception, and he got it. The problem is, NFL teams are bailed out all the time (see Alex Smith’s pick six to Aqib Talib being negated) by penalties that their team and fans think are stupid or unfair. That’s the way the NFL works. Your team sometimes gets screwed by penalties, and sometimes they get missed.
This time, the Broncos got screwed by a no-call, and the Seahawks made a phenomenal play but per NFL rules, should have had to give the ball back to Denver. It might sound like making excuses, but it’s not. It’s flat out a missed call, and Pro Football Talk is wrong.
I’m just saying.