NFL's VP of Officiating: Refs Blew Touchdown Call in Jags-Titans Game
With less than 30 seconds to play in the first half, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard threw a pass to Mike Sims-Walker in the end zone. Sims-Walker initially hauled the pass in, but Titans cornerback Jason McCourty batted the ball out as the two players fell to the ground. It was ruled an incompletion on the field.
But the replay booth buzzed head referee Alberto Riveron -- per protocol in the final two minutes of a half -- to take a second look. Riveron then reversed the call on the field, giving the Jags a touchdown and a 27-3 halftime lead.
Fisher was livid at the time, and remained incensed about the play days later, according to The Tennessean.
"It was an incomplete pass, it should have never gone to review," Fisher said. "And I don't believe there is any excuse for that. It wasn't the difference in the ball game but it was an error in judgment on behalf of the replay system and I believe it was an error in judgment on behalf of the referee.''
The NFL's vice president of officiating, Mike Pereira, agreed with Fisher. On NFL Network's Total Access, Pereira said that the wrong call was made after the replay, and that Sims-Walker should not have been awarded a touchdown.
FanHouse's resident referee Matt Snyder touched on the topic in this week's Zebra Report, reminding us all about the rule in question -- which states that a player making a catch while going to the ground must maintain possession after hitting the ground. The same rule came into play during Oakland's Week 1 loss to San Diego. In that game, Raiders receiver Louis Murphy made a grab in the end zone for an apparent score, but lost control of the ball after making contact with the ground. In that case, Murphy was awarded a touchdown initially, then had it overturned after.
Here's Sims-Walker's "touchdown" from Week 4:
It's a tricky call, no doubt, but by the letter of the law, it definitely looks like an incompletion. McCourty is tackling Sims-Walker as he attempts the catch, Sims-Walker lands on McCourty so he's not down, and in the process McCourty punches the ball out.
And if you still believe it's a touchdown ... well, you can take it up with Pereira.