San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas was penalized for unnecessary roughness on a field-goal attempt in the team's Week 1 loss to the Houston Texans. The call, which eventually led to four extra points for Houston, has been deemed incorrect by the NFL.
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk passed along comments from Dean Blandino, the league's vice president of officiating, about the penalty. He states the umpire had to make a quick judgment call about the contact with long snapper Jon Weeks, and the wrong decision was made.
This was not a correct call. This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or an extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown, forehead, hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.
Texans kicker Randy Bullock connected on the 37-yard attempt, which would have made the score 28-17 in favor of San Diego early in the fourth quarter. Instead, Houston received a first down inside the 10-yard line and scored a touchdown on the next play.
It brought the Texans back within one score, and they completed the comeback to pull out the 31-28 victory on Monday night. A three-point win in a game where the league is now saying that game-changing, four-point swing was incorrect.
That's a tough pill to swallow for the Chargers. The term "human error" gets mentioned a lot in the sports world when it comes to officials, but when it has a direct impact on the outcome of a game, it makes the mistake much tougher to accept.
Sure, an argument could be made that San Diego still held the lead and could have won with a better showing in the fourth quarter. But the call changed the entire complexion of the game and the Chargers never fully recovered.
There's nothing they can do about it now, though.
They are 0-1 heading into a road clash with Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles. The Texans benefited from the call and are 1-0 as they prepare for the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.