St. Louis Rams fans watched as the Seattle Seahawks squeaked by the Green Bay Packers Monday night with the aid of some questionable officiating down the stretch. Over the last 7 minutes of the game the officials made some of the worst calls I have ever seen in any football game. There were 3 calls in particular that had a huge impact on the outcome of the game culminating in the unbelievable TD call on the obvious interception. For Seahawks fans this has to be sickening, the terrible officiating that essentially gave them the game will also overshadow what was an impressive defensive effort by the Seahawks.
The Seattle Seahawks sacked Aaron Rodgers 8 times in the first half, this is not good news for a patchwork St. Louis Rams offensive line who hosts the Seahawks next weekend. In my opinion there was 5 of those sacks where Rodgers had plenty of time to either scramble away from pressure or throw it away and instead took the sack, and one sack was even a result of him losing his footing and falling on the ground untouched. Only a few times were the Packers offensive lineman actually beaten for a sack. The Packers didn’t give up a sack in the second half and it was largely because they made an effort to establish the running game, which in turn set up the play action pass that the Green Bay offense is known for. The St. Louis Rams will need to get the run game going early against the Seahawks next week to keep the defense honest and give Sam Bradford a chance against a tough Seattle defense.
The NFL has a big problem with these replacement officials. Watching the Patriots vs Ravens game on Sunday night I felt that the officials almost got nervous in the final 4 minutes of a close game and made some terrible calls that almost handed the Patriots the game. Although in that game questionable officiating went both ways down the stretch and wasn’t nearly as poor as what we witnessed on monday night. Lets look at the 3 calls that I mentioned earlier. The first call was the ridiculous roughing the passer penalty against Green Bay that negated the interception that would have essentially sealed the win for the Packers. If the officials had gotten that call right there never would have been an opportunity for them to make fools of themselves on the final “touchdown” pass. The second call was the pass interference penalty that they called on the Packers defensive back when Sidney Rice was mauling him, even going as far as grabbing his face mask. That may have been the single worst penalty I have ever seen, and although the Seahawks didn’t score on that possession it was a 32 yard penalty that had a big impact on how this game played out. The final call was the “simultaneous catch” call on the final play of the game. In my understanding for a simultaneous catch to occur a player from each team must gain possession at the same time without one being able to rip the ball from the other on the way to securing the catch. This is not what happened, Golden Tate not only got away with a huge pass interference on the play but he also didn’t even get a hand on the ball. Watching the replay from the reverse angle it appears as if Tate’s arm is pinned to Jennings chest as he secures the interception. The official who was looking directly at the ball signaled for a touchback while the official who couldn’t see the ball at all signaled a touchdown, assuming that a simultaneous catch had occurred. The officials did not confer before signaling for a touchdown, as much as the replacement officials have been picked on for having conferences too often and taking too long, here is one opportunity where a conference should have occurred.
The NFL is handing the locked out officials more and more bargaining position with each passing primetime football game. The NFL has become more exciting this season in part because whenever a flag is thrown its anyones guess as to what the replacement officials will call. The NFL needs to come to terms with the regular officials as quickly as possible before any more game winning interceptions are thrown. Go Rams!!