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NFL: Officiating crew made incorrect call in Chargers-Texans game

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

The refs botched a call that hurt the Chargers in the fourth quarter of San Diego's loss to Houston. (USATSI)
The refs botched a call that hurt the Chargers in the fourth quarter of San Diego's loss to Houston. (USATSI)

Maybe the NFL needs the replacement refs back.

For the third time in Week 1, the NFL has admitted to an officiating error. The league had already acknowledged that the officiating crew in the Packers-49ers game made two mistakes and now, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino is admitting a third mistake was made in the Chargers-Texans game. A mistake that proved costly to San Diego.

With Houston facing a fourth-and-8 in the fourth quarter and lined up to kick a field goal, the Texans got a free first down when Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas was called for unnecessary roughness after making contact with Texans long snapper Jon Weeks.

According to Blandino, that call shouldn't have been made.

"No, this was not a correct call," Blandino said, via NFL.com. "This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown/forehead/hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play."

Randy Bullock's 37-yard field goal attempt for the Texans was good, but that play was taken off the board and Houston had a first down after the penalty was enforced.

"It's a judgment call by the umpire, he's looking at that, and in his judgment, he felt that it was enough for a foul," Blandino said. "And in our review today, we felt that it was not."

The Texans scored a touchdown on the very next play after the penalty on a Matt Schaub nine-yard pass to Owen Daniels. The Daniels score made it 28-21 in a game Houston would win 31-28 on a last second 41-yard field goal by Bullock.

In the 49ers-Packers game, the league admitted that Bill Leavy's officiating crew incorrectly called offsetting penalties and gave the 49ers the ball on the wrong down. The league also acknowledged that the offsetting penalties shouldn't have even happened because 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley was incorrectly flagged on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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