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Referee Peter Morelli Explains Non-Reviewable Spike Ending The First Half

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Bengals QB Andy Dalton spikes the football at Cleveland's 16-yard line with what was believed to be one second remaining in the first half.

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap with :19 remaining in the second quarter from the Browns 41-yard line and floats the football near the left sidelines where A.J. Green, double-covered, stops his route and hauls in the 25-yard pass. With no timeouts remaining in the first half, the offense Usain Bolt's to the 16-yard line and Andy Dalton spikes the football.

Replay shows that the football hit the ground with a second remaining on the clock, yet the first half concluded and everyone went to their respective locker rooms to make half time adjustments. Officials can't review it?

When asked by Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, referee Peter Morelli explained:

"That's not a reviewable play. The clock is taken on the field by the Line Judge and the Back Judge who has the secondary -- the Line Judge has primary. I got the signal from them that after the snap when the ball hit the ground there were zeros on clock so half over."

Asked what the Bengals were thinking after the team meandered around on the field without any urgency following a six-yard reception earlier in the drive to Armon Binns, quarterback Andy Dalton admitted that there was some indecision.

"They were trying to figure out if they wanted to keep going with the two-minute drill. We did lose some time there," Dalton said.

Marvin Lewis told Dave Lapham after the game that they knew that the Browns had three timeouts, concerned about giving Cleveland the football with some time remaining. Either they're overthinking their strategy to milk the first half clock earlier in the drive (as if they'll just impose their will against the Browns defense), or have little faith that the Bengals can impose said will against the Browns defense.

Either way there's equal parts blame here. The coaching staff for the indecision or overthinking strategy and the regular officials that have made this game better.