By Jay Morrison | Monday, September 24, 2012, 04:45 PM
An NFL official confirmed Monday that the referees in Sunday’s Bengals-Redskins game made two errors in the final 67 seconds.
The first came with the clock running and less than two minutes remaining in the game when Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson was injured on the play, and so the clock was stopped with 1:07 remaining.
Below is the e-mail response from Michael Signora, Vice President of Football Communications National Football League.
Rule 4, Section 5, Article 4 (f) of the NFL Rule Book states: “If an excess team timeout is charged against a team in possession of the ball, and time is in when the excess timeout is called, the ball shall not be put in play until the time on the game clock has been reduced by 10 seconds, if the defense so chooses.”
Because Washington had used all three of its timeouts, a 10-second runoff should have been applied in this situation. The clock should have been set at 0:57 and started on the referee’s ready for play signal.
With the clock running and under one minute remaining in the game, Washington spiked the ball to stop the clock. That resulted in a 3rd and 25 from the Cincinnati 34 with seven seconds remaining. The clock was stopped at this point because of the incomplete pass on the previous play, i.e. the spike. The Redskins were then penalized for a false start. Because the clock was stopped, there is no 10-second runoff in this situation. It was properly officiated.
In addition to the five yard penalty for the false start, which would have taken the ball from the Cincinnati 34 to the Cincinnati 39, Washington was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. A penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct is 15 yards. From the Cincinnati 39, the ball should have then been spotted at the Washington 46. Instead, the ball was incorrectly spotted at the Washington 41, a difference of five yards.