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Week 8's biggest calls
There were a lot of big plays to talk about in Week 8, including a couple of quarterbacks going down.
The Titans' Vince Young left the Chargers game with an ankle injury, while the Vikings' Brett Favre got knocked out of the Patriots game with a cut to the chin. However, in my opinion, the hit by New England defensive tackle Myron Pryor on Favre appeared to be a perfectly legal play.
There also were a lot of challenges and reviews during the day games on Sunday — 26 overall, with seven reversals. But the one I want to start with is one of the most intriguing calls of the season thus far, and it came in the Packers-Jets game.
1. Green Bay at New York Jets
THE SITUATION: The Jets had the ball third-and-11 at the Packers 43-yard line at 4:48 of the second quarter.
THE PLAY: Mark Sanchez's pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery was intercepted by Tramon Williams at the Green Bay 40. The Jets challenged that the runner was down-by-contact ruling and the play was upheld.
MY TAKE: This was a very interesting play. The only thing that was reviewable in this play was whether the pass was complete or incomplete.
The ruling on the field was that the receiver and the defender had joint possession of the ball and the defender pulled the ball away from the receiver after hitting the ground. Who actually catches or intercepts the pass is not reviewable in replay.
The only chance the Jets had was that, somehow, the ball had hit the ground which would make the pass incomplete. If I were on the field, I'm not really sure I would have let the Jets challenge this play. It left the Jets with no challenges remaining the rest of the game. Since the aspect of who is determined to catch or intercept the pass is not reviewable, they really they had no chance of getting it reversed.
2. Minnesota at New England
THE SITUATION: The Vikings had the ball, second-and-goal at the Patriots 1 at the beginning of the second quarter.
THE PLAY: Adrian Peterson scored on a 1-yard run, but New England challenged that he did not break the plane of the goal line. The play stood as called on the field.
MY TAKE: This is one of those calls that would stand no matter which way it was ruled on the field. FOX had cameras on each side of the field located at the goal line. One shot made it look like a touchdown and the opposite shot made it look like Peterson was short of the goal line.
ASK MIKE PEREIRA
Being that the ruling on the field was that Peterson scored, there was nothing conclusive to reverse that call.
THE SITUATION: Dallas had the ball, first-and-10 at the Jacksonville 29 with just under 13 minutes left in the game, trailing 28-3.
THE PLAY: Jon Kitna completed a 27-yard pass to Jason Witten, who was hit in the helmet by the helmet of Jacksonville's Don Carey. Carey received an unnecessary roughness penalty and Carey was injured on the play. He did not return.
MY TAKE: Not a good time to be Don Carey.
This is the type of hit that the league wants out of the game. He launched and made helmet-to-helmet contact with Witten. With the league's new emphasis on changing the culture of the game, Carey has to be concerned with whether he'll be suspended.
He can definitely count on a fine, and he's lucky he wasn't ejected. It was actually Carey who was injured on the play and didn't return. This reinforces what the league has said all along — this rule is designed to protect both the player who gets hit and the player who does the hitting.
4. Green Bay at New York Jets
THE SITUATION: The Jets had the ball fourth-and-18 at their 20 yard line with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
THE PLAY: The Jets' Steve Weatherford faked the punt and ran around the right end for 18 yards. Green Bay challenged the spot and the first down ruling. The play was reversed.
MY TAKE: This was an excellent challenge by Packers coach Mike McCarthy and his staff on a key play early in the game.
By all appearances, Weatherford had made the first down. While viewing the first replay, the Packers saw enough to indicate that Weatherford's left foot was out of bounds. The replay assistant and the referee had to piece two shots together to show that not only did his left foot go out of bounds, but the ball was short of the line to gain.
The Packers went on to kick a field goal to give them a 3-0 lead which, as it turns out, was all they needed.
5. Tennessee at San Diego
THE SITUATION: The Titans had just scored to cut the Chargers lead to 27-25 with 11:35 left in the game.
MY TAKE: Nickey is another guy who should be very nervous this week. You don't throw a punch at anybody, let alone a referee, even if you don't mean to hit him.
Undoubtedly, the NFL will impose a hefty fine. It is actually illegal to throw a punch at an opponent, even if no contact is made. That is stated specifically in Rule 12. It is deemed to be unsportsmanlike conduct. In this case, the punch missed the opponent, but struck Leavy. The league will not take this lightly and it shouldn't.