Zebra Report: About That Saints Win
The first play occurred late in the first half, when Drew Brees threw an interception to Kareem Moore. Moore rolled over his own teammate before hitting the ground and got up to try and garner a quality return. Instead, he was stripped by Robert Meachem (see the picture here), who proceeded to pick up the ball and take it to the house for a huge Saints' touchdown.
After going to a replay review, the call on the field was upheld. Really, the only possible thing Redskins fans could even remotely complain about is that Moore was down by contact after the interception. What's most important is when Moore gained possession of the football. After that, was any part of him touched by a Saints player before he hit the ground? The officials ruled no, and I'm inclined to agree with them. As for the Meachem strip, the picture here shows the ball was out well before Moore's knees or elbows hit the ground. You can watch the play on NFL.com by clicking here (it starts at the 1-minute mark).
The second call receiving massive scrutiny was Mike Sellers' fumble in overtime (watch the video linked above and start at the 3:45 mark). In my view, this one could have gone either way. It seems to be the NFL is making itself look bad by using the terminology "conclusive visual evidence." Why can't they just say they use replay to get the call correct? Because that seems to be the crux of the issue here. Sellers appears to either fumble precisely when his elbow hits the ground or a split-second before, depending upon who you ask. Thus, in the eyes of many, the replay isn't "conclusive" enough to overturn the call either way -- meaning whatever was called on the field should stand. I can understand the rationale for this rule, as sometimes you really can't see the ball on a replay. When you can see it, though, what does the call on the field matter? Just decide if it's a fumble or not. For the record, I believe this is what they do, but that means they aren't following the rule explicitly.
Anyway, I certainly don't think either call is egregious enough to draw the kinds of reactions I've seen across message boards (claims the league fixed the game? Are you kidding? Yeah, Suisham wanted to miss the field goal and get cut).
That's all the time we're going to have this week, and I apologize for not getting into all the email submissions I have received. I spent the past three full days covering the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings and had no time to dedicate to reviewing football plays. Don't fret, my dozen or so fans, I'll get to everything next week. In the meantime, keep those submissions coming. They are the lifeblood of the Zebra Report.
Zebra Report is FanHouse's analysis of actual NFL rules and how they are to be applied ... because most fans think they could do a better job than the NFL officials, yet definitely could not. Click here for an introduction as to how we do things. Got a rules-related question? Whether it's elementary, high school or NFL, email TZR and he'll see what he can do.