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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

Chargers’ controversial fumble not called because of forward progress

The San Diego Chargers really lucked out on Sunday. The Chargers needed the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins to lose on Sunday, and then they needed to win in order to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Luckily for them, Cincinnati beat Baltimore and the New York Jets defeated the Dolphins to give them a great shot at making the postseason. All they had to do was win their game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs did everything possible to help out San Diego. They benched most of their top players — including quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, receiver Dwayne Bowe and linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson — because they had nothing to gain from the game. Even without their top players, they should have won the game.

Kansas City led first and never trailed during the game. Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal attempt with four seconds left that would have won Kansas City the game. Then in overtime, the Chargers ran a fake punt on 4th and 2 from their 28 that also should have cost them the game.

Eric Weddle took a direct snap and rushed straight ahead, but he lost the football and the Chiefs recovered it and returned it for a touchdown. However, referee Bill Leavy announced the Chargers got a first down on the play. Leavy didn’t explain why the fumble didn’t count. Reasons why the fumble wouldn’t have counted could have been because the referees determined Weddle’s forward progress had stopped prior to the fumble, or because his helmet came off, which would have made the play dead. The forward progress decision is not reviewable, but the helmet coming off is.

If the officials determined that Weddle’s forward progress was stopped before the fumble — which is what Pro Football Talk says happened — then FOX officiating guru Mike Pereira says that’s the wrong call.

Pereira also pointed out that the Chargers got away with being in an illegal formation on the missed Succop field goal. They had seven players on one side of the ball on the line of scrimmage, which is illegal as of this season.

Chargers Chiefs field goal

A maximum of six players are allowed on one side of the ball on the line of scrimmage. The result should have been a five-yard penalty.

San Diego really lucked out in this one. We’ll see whether their luck continues when they visit Cincinnati in the playoffs.

GIF via Steelers Depot


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