Thankfully, the NFL allowed common sense to take over before an officiating controversy that would have overshadowed the Buffalo Bills-Houston Texans wild-card game.
As ESPN’s Lisa Salters was starting her post-halftime sideline report, there was a commotion on the field behind her. The officials made the never-seen-before ruling that Texans return DeAndre Carter had thrown the ball away after catching it in the end zone, without taking a knee, and the Bills had a touchdown when they picked it up.
“There is no fair catch signal, I get it, but the receiver in the end zone basically gives himself up,” ESPN officiating expert John Parry said on the broadcast as the officials discussed the call. “This play is over. This is common-sense football officiating.”
Carter had made a signal that he wasn’t coming out, and then caught the ball and casually tossed it to the official. Carter was incensed at the ruling, even coming back on the field to argue some more.
“That’s a safe signal: I’m not coming out,” Parry said, explaining Carter’s actions. “They all use it.”
The officials came out of the huddle and said the returner gave himself up and it would be a touchback.
NFL officials and their errors have overshadowed plenty of games this season, but thankfully an enormous controversy was avoided.
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