At the beginning of the fourth quarter of the Texans’ 31-28 comeback win over the Chargers Monday night, a critical moment occurred. The Chargers defense stepped up and had seemingly held the Texans to a field goal. However, Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas was flagged for unnecessary roughness after making contact with snapper Jon Weeks during the field goal attempt. At this point in the game, the Chargers would have led 28-17. The penalty gave the Texans a first down and they cashed in by scoring a touchdown, making the lead 28-21.
Tuesday, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, said the penalty was an error. You can view the video in the link as well.
“No, this was not a correct call. This is not the intent of the rule as it was written,” Blandino explained. “The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown/forehead/hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.”
Granted, this is the first season that the rule is in place, so we have to cut the refs a little slack as they become accustomed to making these judgment calls. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that a bad call, for all intents and purposes, cost the Chargers a win. Hopefully officials learn from this mistake and are more accurate in their judgments from here on out regarding this rule in particular.