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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Jeff Driskel touchdown controversially overturned in Bengals’ loss

Jeff Driskel touchdown

Jeff Driskel and the Cincinnati Bengals lost a touchdown during Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers on a controversial overturned call.

With just under six minutes to go in the first half, Cincinnati was trailing the Chargers 14-3. The Bengals had a 3rd-and-goal at the 1 and ran a bootleg. Driskel tucked the ball and tried to run in for a score and appeared to do so. He dived into the end zone and the officials called it a touchdown. However, the scoring play was reviewed and overturned.

Here’s a look at the play:

In real time, it looked like a clear touchdown with Driskel rushing for a 1-yard score. There seemed to be little doubt. But on review, the officials overturned the call, citing a new league rule. The new rule treats head-first dives by a quarterback just like slides. QBs are viewed as giving themselves up and the ball is marked where their bodypart hits the ground.

NFL rules analyst for CBS Sports Gene Steratore explained the ruling in more detail:

And here is the explanation from the officials after the game.

As long as the ball was shy of the goal line when Driskel’s knee was down, then the overturned call was correct based on the new rule. And most fans probably hate the rule, just like they hated the excessive roughing the passer calls this season.

All of these rules seem to be aimed at protecting quarterbacks. They don’t want QBs getting hit. Whether a QB slides or dives, they want quarterbacks protected, which is why they enact these rules.

But then there’s a big loophole: Why are QB sneaks at the goal line allowed if they don’t want quarterbacks diving forward and taking hits? Maybe the league needs to apply some common sense to the inconsistency. There should be an exception for plays at the goal line, where a QB’s clear intent is to be a rusher and score, and when a defender should be allowed to hit them. No way this should have been anything other than a touchdown.

After the TD was overturned, Cincinnati had a false start that backed them up, and they settled for a field goal to make it 14-6. They lost 26-21.

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