NFL Director of Officiating Dean Blandino admitted that referee Jeff Triplette’s crew made two errors in the waning moments of the New York Giants victory over Washington on Sunday, yet another in a series of mistakes by Triplette over the years.
Blandino indicated that Triplette should have called timeout to correct a situation after the down markers were moved and changed, incorrectly indicating that Washington had gotten a first down when it was actually third down.
As a result, the Redskins changed the sequence of plays they might have otherwise run and ended up fumbling on fourth down after a completing a short pass. The Giants recovered and secured a 24-17 victory.
“In this situation where there is obvious confusion as to the status of the down, play should have been stopped prior to third down and the correct down communicated to both clubs,” Blandino said. “This should have occurred regardless of the fact that Washington had no timeouts and it was inside two minutes.
“Only the referee can rule and signal a first down. The official nearest to the down markers and chain crew, the head linesman, must wait for the first down signal from the referee before moving the chains. Instant Replay did not become involved in this situation because the replay official determined that the ball on Garcon’s catch was correctly spotted short of the line to gain for a first down.”
Triplette has been in the midst of controversy in the past, such as in 2001 when he inadvertently cost Indianapolis a touchdown when he blew a play dead on a fake spike by quarterback Peyton Manning.
Triplette has twice his players with weighted penalty flags, once injuring former Cleveland offensive tackle Orlando Brown and causing the league to eventually settle a lawsuit with Brown who suffered eye damage.
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