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That play is basically what I call getting a gift for an underthrown ball.
We have benefitted from similar calls in the past (Dolphins game a few years back comes to mind)
The NFL should really look at this rule as it is a giftwrapped big play for what is otherwise bad offensive play.
The ball is underthrown which is why the reciever is trying to stop and now go through the defender who should have a right to the same ground.
It may be the rule, but it is a very poor rule if an offense is awarded a big play due to the fact the QB underthrows the ball and the reciever changed direction and runs into the defender following him
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"...gets easily picked off by safety Josh Barrett in the endzone. But behind Barrett is fellow safety Sergio Brown, covering the Bills wide receiver David Nelson. Nelson has reached the back of the endzone and turns to come back towards the ball, that is heading about 7 yards away from where he is. Brown is a half-second late looking back, but he has the position, Nelson has to go around him.
Rather than do that Nelson tries to go through him. Brown, worried about getting a Defensive Pass Interference flag, throws his arms up in a clear “I’m not doing anything, look” gesture. ERROR. The referee reads it as an attempt to grab Nelson (who is himself grabbing Brown) and throws the flag..."
I thought it was a heady play by the reciever, he wasnt catching that ball so he grabbed the defender and got the call.
The NFL seriously has to look at this rule and make an amendment for these woefully underthrown balls that somehow garner a PI call.
The rule should be anything way underthrown should be no penalty, unless the reciever tries to decieve the ref and grab the defender, then it should be an offensive penalty.
It gets a little sketchier for balls slightly underthrown but something can be worked out thats fair.
Originally I had thought this was an okay call because of this:
Actions that constitute defensive pass interference include but are not limited to:
(e) Cutting off the path of a receiver by making contact with him without playing the ball.
The problem is that Brown did not cut off the path of the receiver. Nelson is the one who stopped and grabbed on to Brown.
Originally Posted by Haley
But after reading through the actual rule more carefully, I don't believe that to be the case anymore, mainly because of this:
Actions that do not constitute pass interference include but are not limited to:
(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players.
I remember that ball being pretty woefully under thrown. I find it hard to justify that anyone could have caught it even without this contact.
Now the question becomes whether or not Nelson could have gotten into position to catch the ball if Brown wasn't there. And the answer is "NO", he couldn't because Barrett had position AND the ball within milliseconds of any contact.
The biggest problem with Pass Interference is that there is no consistency in calling it. As you mentioned, the is a stipulation about the uncatchable ball by the parties involved. It was CLEAR that Nelson wasn't getting to that ball whether or not Brown was there.. Yet, the refs blow it and seem to forget about that part of the rule.
The funny thing is that there is rarely any discussion on plays like this. One ref throws a flag and the rest of them blindly follow along, even on a spot foul play that not only wipes an INT off the board and hands the other team the ball on the 1 yard line.
You'd think a play like this would at least get a conversation, considering that the 2 players involved in the foul weren't very close to the ball.