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Did Seahawks Really Get Robbed at End of Game vs. Rams?

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2014

USA Today

The Seattle Seahawks managed to put up a valiant fight after going down 21-6 to the St. Louis Rams at halftime on Sunday.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 313 yards, rushed for 106 more and scored three total touchdowns as Seattle pulled within two points in the final minutes of the contest.

It appeared that Seattle would have an opportunity to complete the comeback when Rams running back Tre Mason fumbled the ball with just over a minute remaining. The ball was momentarily possessed by Rams tight end Cory Harkey, but he too fumbled the ball away.

It then appeared that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman fell on the football before the ensuing scrum became a massive pileup. Had he been awarded the recovery, it would have given Seattle the football with enough time to get in to field-goal range.

The officials on the field, however, ruled that there was no clear recovery after Harkey lost control of the football, so the Rams maintained possession. St. Louis took a knee on the next play to seal the 28-26 victory.

By rule, it was a reviewable play. Since it was inside the two-minute warning, the call to review would have had to come from the replay assistant. 

But that call never came.

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Terry Blount @TBlountSports

Richard Sherman said he had the fumble at the end and doesn't know why the refs didn't review it.

Broadcast replay showed Sherman on top of the football before players began piling on him. Replay never showed another player making a clear recovery. That inconclusive evidence wouldn't help overturn a call and won't provide players and coaches with an explanation. 

According to Dean Blandino, the NFL's Vice President of Officiating, the play was reviewed in New York. However, there was still no call to review the play in St. Louis. 

Dean Blandino @DeanBlandino

Player coming out of pile w/loose ball is not a clear recovery. Need video evidence of him gaining possession. Play was reviewed in NY.

The Seahawks were visibly upset that the call for replay review never came, and they had every right to be. While the call on the field may have ultimately been the right one, NFL officials have an obligation to do everything in their power to make sure that the game is called correctly.

It is unlikely the officiating crew would be criticized for taking a couple of moments to make an informed decision and provide a clear explanation of what exactly transpired on the play.

Dean Blandino @DeanBlandino

At end of #SEAvsSTL we looked at all available angles. No evidence of who recovered ball. Ball still loose and then went into pile.

Referees have botched a few fumble calls this season by blowing an early whistle and forcing a review in order to award possession. In some cases, this has negated scoring opportunities by the defense because the football cannot be advanced when change-of-possession occurs after a play is blown dead.

The play at the end of Sunday's game wasn't blown dead prematurely, but the failure to review the recovery meant that the Seahawks defense came away empty regardless. It appears that the right call was ultimately made, but the play was certainly worth an extra look, and Seattle deserves an explanation. 

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