Giving the Redskins five downs last Sunday
It’s the end of the week, just enough time for the “Refs gave the Skins 5 downs” talk to finally subside a bit. Video evidence and talking to the coaches reveal there was no confusion on the field. Coach Raheem Morris knew it was first down, and they prepared for it accordingly. Where the refs erred was on the first down spotting, follow with me if you will.

The Redskins had a first down on the 30 and half yard line. They got another first down on a completion to Santana Moss down to the Bucs 12. It’s now first and ten, with the line of scrimmage clearly on the 12. The FOX Blue line of scrimmage is clearly on the 12-yard line, and the officials L.o.S. sign is also on the 12.

We do not need to be jet fuel geniuses to know where we need to get to for another first down. It's fairly obvious we need to get to the 3-yard line. ’’HUH”??

On the first down play, McNabb hits WR Anthony Armstrong who was ruled down just inside the 13-yard line. Here is where the controversy and confusion begin.

Photos show the Fox yellow line, which were always told is unofficial, shows the first down can be obtained at the 2-yard line. However the official is holding the first down sign and floor red rag on the 3-yard line.

This is what caused the confusion for those on TV, because the very next play looked like 2nd and 1, when in fact it was a first down. The coaches knew it was a first down, so there was no controversy, and no ‘5th down conspiracy’.

HOWEVER- clearly the first down should not have been given. Armstrong did not reach the 2 yard line, if he did the line of scrimmage on the next play would have been from the 2, instead it was on the 3.

The officials gave the Redskins a first down after only achieving 9 yards, not 10. With the play happening under 2:00 left in the game, the Bucs could not challenge the spot. Not even sure if you CAN challenge the first down marker.

This is cause for concern, because only the previous week the Bucs lost a game against the Atlanta Falcons when an interception on the final drive via replay appeared to hit the ground. Several calls this year have been controversial in nature, and its not only the Bucs involved.

When Roger Goodell says he thinks something is going to happen, it usually does. Goodell says an 18 game regular season is going to happen, so you can count on it. If the Officials are going to continue this level of competence something needs to be done about it.

Perhaps officials on the field are not the right people to make a final determination on a play. In College, an official in the booth makes the call, removing the verdict from the official on the field where the play occurred. As fans we want to see two extra weeks, but we don’t want two more weeks worth of stuff like this.

About the writer
Nick is also the editor of Bucstop.com which is a superb website described as a site where you get lost in time watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers video clips from 1977 to 2010. He was selected to the Bucs UK Hall of Fame in 2009 and has joined myself and Phil Jones on the sideline at Buccaneer games in recent seasons as thanks for the lengths he goes to in supporting the Bucs UK. Nick writes regular daily comments on the Bucs and the NFL on the site and it is well worth adding to your list of Buccaneer bookmarks.