The Seattle Seahawks caught a big break early in Sunday’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
Tight end Jacob Hollister fumbled after making a first-quarter catch from Russell Wilson. But officials ruled on the field that he did not cough up the ball. And a combination of a flawed replay ruling and poor on-field officiating cost the Packers possession, a timeout and a challenge.
Officials prematurely rule player down
Officials initially ruled the Hollister was down by contact at the Seahawks’ 40-yard line on the first-down play. Hollister got flipped on a tackle and clearly let the ball go before he was down.
Before the Seahawks snapped the ball on the next play, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur challenged the ruling.
Bad rule, bad officiating
Replay officials determined that Hollister did indeed fumble. But they didn’t find clear video evidence that Green Bay recovered the ball, and the ruling on the field stood.
Video clearly showed Packers cornerback Chandon Sullivan coming out of the pile with the ball, evidence enough that would have resulted in possession for Green Bay had the correct ruling of a fumble been made on the field.
They said there wasn't evidence of a clear recovery 🤷♂️🤷♂️pic.twitter.com/LbwXq0GiMR— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 13, 2020
Packers punished twice
But since replay review requires a different standard, and officials didn’t see the actual recovery happen in the scrum, watching a Packers player come up uncontested with the ball wasn’t good enough in this case.
To add insult to the injury of Seattle keeping the ball, the NFL docked Green Bay a challenge and a timeout.
Well done, NFL.
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