Other than witnessing great plays and executions on NFL football fields, observing how edgy, bang-bang calls are signaled at live speed is simply amazing.
To close out the 2019 NFL regular season, the NFL Caretakers were at the receiving end of some remarkable plays, in live speed, down the stretch. Countless Earthlings would have missed the entire process of those outstanding performances because they would easily be too engaged to the execution.
It takes special individuals to put aside their emotions and eliminate the ‘wow’ factor from their psyche to focus on the mission at hand – “getting it (the call) right.”
NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron has been preaching “getting it right” since he came the head man in charge of the NFL officials.
Despite popular opinion, the NFL officials has been nothing short of excellent this season.
Throw all the officiating stats out the window. Forget all about the shoulda’s and coulda’s. Let’s stop pointing fingers and judging without experience and appreciate the skill set of the men and women who dawn the black and white stripes of the NFL.
These Caretakers are truly the best…and here’s the proof.
WEEK 15 – NEW YORK JETS VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS
John Hussey and his crew returned to Baltimore, and once again, delivered a well-called performance – in bang-bang situations.
In the second quarter with 13:32 remaining, the Jets faced third-and-goal from the Ravens’ four-yard line. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold received the ball from shotgun formation, and due to the immediate pressure from the Ravens’ defense, he rolled out deep to his right. Darnold fired the ball to the edge of the endzone to wide receiver James Crowder.
Crowder caught the ball while falling out of bounds with Ravens cornerback Marion Humphrey over his back.
Line judge Carl Johnson leaned forward, viewed the play through and eventually signaled the touchdown.
The score was a bang-bang, or better yet, a tap-tap situation.
Crowder caught the tight pass and quickly secured the ball. While doing so, the tip of his left foot was planted in bounds and slightly before he removed his left off the ground, Crowder started to drag the tip of his right foot in the endzone.
The outcome was confirmed as a touchdown. Humphrey provided superb coverage, Crowder’s execution was perfect and Johnson awareness in live speed was off the charts, without assistance from technology.
Back judge Brad Freeman nailed it again!
Fast forward to the third quarter with 5:14 left. The Ravens faced second-and-10 from the Jets’ 24-yard line. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was in shotgun formation when he received the ball and tossed a deep pass towards the back of the endzone to rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown, who was wide open.
Brown hauled in the pass before falling out of bounds for a questionable touchdown.
The score was not questionable for Freeman as he signaled a touchdown after processing the outcome.
When the ball was in Brown’s grasp, the tip of his right foot was dragging on the turf in bounds and slightly before his right foot skipped up, he planted his left foot on the turf. During the foot exchange, Brown had clear control of the ball for the split second touchdown.
Riveron and his gang in New York quickly confirmed the ruling as a touchdown.
Without question, Freeman nailed the call in bang-bang time. Freeman, continue to stay sharp.
WEEK 15 – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES VS. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Back judge Dyrol Prioleau was locked on this one.
Facing third-and-goal from the Eagles’ five-yard line with 7:03 remaining in the first half, Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins received the ball from shotgun formation.
Haskins stood in the pocket, looked, looked and found rookie wide receiver Steven Sims at the back of the endzone. Haskins toss the ball to Sims and he caught it over Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox for the play.
With excitement, Sims held his hands up signaling for a score, and Prioleau of Shawn Smith‘s crew followed the process of the play to ultimately rule a touchdown.
When Sims caught the ball, he was drifting backward and his left foot landed with the back of his heel slightly in bounds. Sims realized where his footing was and slowly brought his right foot down, slightly in bounds, then stepped out of bounds.
The outcome was quickly confirmed, great awareness by Prioleau.
With 6:02 left in the third quarter, the Eagles had second-and-9 from the Redskins’ 15-yard line. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz received the ball from shotgun and was pressured immediately out the pocket. He rolled out to his right with his eyes kept down the field and saw rookie running back Miles Sanders at the back of the endzone.
Wentz rifled the ball, one of the best passes of the year and probably for his career, past two defenders along the sideline to Sanders while he was falling backward.
Sanders’ backside hit the ground and it appeared that the ball was either intercepted or incomplete. Sanders not only caught the ball, but according to Prioleau, it was a touchdown.
While tracking the ball, Smith was trailing Wentz while he was scrambling. When Sanders was attempting catching the ball, he was falling down to the turf. Sanders caught the blazing pass and secured it before rolling backwards out of bounds. With one cheek down, it equates to two feet in.
Clearly, Prioleau was money in this contest.
WEEK 15 – HOUSTON TEXANS VS. TENNESSEE TITANS
In the fourth quarter with 13:46 on the clock, the Titans faced second-and-goal from the Texans’ five-yard line. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill received the ball from shotgun and had all kinds of time hopping inside the pocket. After going through his progressions, Tannehill witnessed A.J. Brown running back to him forward the endzone.
Tannehill fired the ball towards the goal line to Brown and he caught in while crossing out the endzone, along with getting tackled by Texans cornerback Bradley Roby.
The completed catch was never questioned, but was it a score?
Highlights showed that Brown recognized the placement of his footing and the flight of the ball. He stopped in the endzone and hand grabbed the ball while crossing the goal line slightly before he was hit by Roby.
Perlman witnessed Brown having control of the ball with both feet in the endzone when he initially caught the ball, which was a clearly touchdown in a bang-bang situation.
WEEK 16 – HOUSTON TEXANS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
This play was not a score, however, great awareness by an official needs to be recognized.
With 1:38 remaining in the contest, the Bucs faced second-and-13 from their 26-yard line. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston received the ball from shotgun and started to be pressured from the pocket. Winston stepped up inside the pocket and rolled out to his left to find wide receiver Breshad Perriman running towards the sideline.
Winston rifled the ball to Perriman and he caught the pass before falling backwards out of bounds. It appeared that Perriman was not in bounds when he completed the catch.
When the ball was in flight, Perriman turned his body to adjust to the ball, which was thrown slightly behind him. He caught the ball, gained immediate control and both of his feet landed with the back of his right heel slightly in bounds.
Controlling the ball with his right hand, Bower recognized that it was a clear catch.
WEEK 16 – LOS ANGELES RAMS VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Back to some scoring plays.
In this tight match up, the 49ers were driving and they needed to score. With 6:14 left in regulation, they were facing third-and-goal from the Rams’ seven-yard line. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got the ball from shotgun, was flushed out of the pocket and rolled to his right.
Garoppolo saw tight end George Kittle in the endzone coming back to him. He fired the ball to Kittle, who caught the pass falling out the endzone with Rams linebacker Cory Littleton over his back.
When Kittle was coming back to the ball, he caught it, but Littleton forced him out of the endzone. Nevertheless, Kittle caught the ball and gained immediate control in the endzone, despite not having both feet in the endzone following the completion.
The ball was caught in the endzone, breaking the plane. Automatic touchdown.
Solid focus by Bergman.
WEEK 16 – CINCINNATI BENGALS VS. MIAMI DOLPHINS
This play was a – stretch.
With 3:45 remaining in the third quarter, the Bengals needed all the points they could get.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton received the ball from shotgun formation on fourth-and-3 from the Dolphins’ 34-yard line. After a short progression, Dalton toss the ball high down the left side of the field to wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who stretched his arms to finger tip the pass.
Boyd was streaking up the side line with Dolphins rookie cornerback Nik Needham tracking him. Needham tripped Boyd’s feet and he out stretched for the endzone.
Zimmer fingered where Boyd dove from, looked back to where the ball crossed, and signaled the touchdown.
WEEK 17 – ATLANTA FALCONS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Now, for some repeaters.
With :14 seconds left in the first half, the Buccaneers were facing second-and-10 from the Falcons’ 24-yard line. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston received the ball from shotgun formation and was quickly flushed out the pocket.
Winston scrambled to his right and tossed the ball high towards the back of the endzone to Perriman. In this desperation play, Perriman was completely covered by Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Perriman adjusted his body to haul in the ball.
Perriman snatched the ball and came down slightly in bounds with both feet in. Still, the question was, was it a touchdown.
According to back judge Matt Edwards and field judge Michael Banks of Carl Cheffers‘ squad, Perriman was completely in bounds for the score.
During this play, the question was not about Perriman’s placement of his feet, but his hand. When Perriman caught the ball, his left foot landed in the endzone and controlled the ball with his right hand. Being aware of how he was falling, Perriman quickly dropped his right foot down a split second before his left hand landed out of bounds (see the circle).
Edwards and Banks witnessed the process from different angles. They both quickly confirmed with each other with head nods and signaled touchdown simultaneously.
Great play by Perriman, again. Excellent teamwork by Edwards and Banks.
WEEK 17 – TENNESSEE TITANS VS. HOUSTON TEXANS
Brown strikes again, and Blakeman’s crew.
Entering the fourth quarter with 14:19 on the clock, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill received the ball from snap and had all kinds of time in the pocket. Tannehill kept his eyes down the field and saw Brown running open towards the sideline.
Tannehill threw deep to the left side of the field and Brown caught the perfect thrown pass while falling out of bounds with safeties Tashaun Gipson Jr. and Jahleel Addae on his back.
The catch was never in question, however, it appeared that he was out of bounds.
Until side judge Jimmy Buchanan was on top of the play and never hesitated to signal for a completed catch.
When Brown was running to the ball, he recognized how close to out of bounds he was. Brown secured the ball as it dropped in his arms while protecting his body. He also bent his legs to keep his feet behind him to stay in bounds. Brown had control of the ball, both feet were down on a bang-bang play that would normally be reviewed because the naked eye would have missed it.
Not Buchanan. He was sharp during this process and nailed the call.
Now, on to the second season – the playoffs. The NFL Caretakers will be ready for the challenge.