NFL Week One Replacement Officials Grade: Extra Timeout Nearly Cost The Arizona Cardinals

Sept. 9, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back William Powell (33) argues with the officials in the fourth quarter against Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

+ Replacement officials irresponsibly gave the Seattle Seahawks an extra timeout in the closing minutes during Arizona's 20-16 win. Doug Baldwin suffered an injury with 47 seconds remaining in the game, but officials didn't charge Seattle with a timeout because the pass had been incomplete. NFL rules require that teams use an available timeout during an injury inside two minutes of either half. It should have been Seattle's final timeout of the game. Instead they were allowed to use their final timeout with 30 seconds remaining in the game, following a two-yard by Marshawn Lynch. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw three consecutive incomplete passes from Arizona's four-yard line and the Cardinals eventually won the game anyway.

After the game referee Bruce Hermansen said:

"It was my error. We gave them (Seattle) the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred. When in effect, the clock has no bearing on the play at all, whether it’s stopped or running, we should not have given them the additional timeout."

One official left his area of responsibility between the Packers and 49ers, turning his back to the players after a play that led to a confrontation between San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson and Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley. Terry Gierke, a former head linesman with 21 years of experience, told USA Today of the play:

"(The official in the end zone) left his primary responsibility," Gierke said. "You don't turn your back on players. He left because he wanted to see what the other guy called. It should have been his call.

"He stopped officiating, basically."

Later in the game Packers linebacker Terrell Manning noticeably blocked 49ers Anthony Dixon in the back during Randall Cobb's 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. The flag was picked up.

Several players would spent their moments after their respective losses complaining about the officiating. Bills defensive end Mario Williams complained about New York's Austin Howard's "numerous" illegal hands to the face that were never called following Buffalo's 48-28 loss to the New York Jets.

"Pass blocking doesn't consist of illegal hands to the face just about every play, which, when somebody tells you that, and you're five yards away from it, and you walk away like you don't see him telling you you're getting punched in the face every time, then that dictates somebody like myself having to take care of that on my own," said Williams, who was held without a sack or quarterback pressure in his first regular-season game with the Bills after signing a six-year contract that could be worth up to $100 million with Buffalo in the offseason. There's definitely, with the situation that we're in with the refs like that, and then you don't listen or you don't call it one time out of 20 that were out there. That's really disheartening from that point."

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker hurt his shoulder after tackling Patriots safety Patrick Chung, returning a fourth quarter fumble in a game that was decided by 21 points. The Tennessean writes that Locker and wide receiver Nate Washington were injured on a play that should have been called dead.

Video review, however, revealed the play should’ve been blown dead as an incomplete pass because Washington never had possession of the ball.

Perhaps Locker's position coach Dowell Loggains should start preaching to his quarterback about putting his body at risk during a fumble return. Though courageous and inspiring, a shoulder injury in week one with 15 games remaining doesn't really give the player nor team a good return for a tackle.

Undoubtedly there were more calls or non-calls that could be listed. None were major and likely similar to the same number of calls and non-calls that the regular officials would usually be blamed for.

There's no known progress being made between the NFL and NFL Referees Association and the league has already assigned the replacement officials games for the slate of games in week two.

So far we have one major gaff that didn't change the game's outcome and several players on losing teams vocalizing their displeasure. Sounds like a typical weekend in the NFL.

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