According to Mike Shanahan, incorrectly moving the chains and telling him that a play just inside the two-minute warning had resulted in a first down wasn’t the only mistake the officials made during the Redskins’ last offensive possession. He said they missed a facemask violation on their last offensive play and that could have contributed to the result of the play.
On fourth down and one, Robert Griffin III threw a short pass to Pierre Garçon to pick up the first down. Cornerback Jayron Hosley came up to make the tackle and safety Will Hill pulled the ball out of Garçon’s hands. It was the Giants’ ball and they killed the clock.
Shanahan said that a look at the film revealed the penalty. “Pierre is the strongest guy on our team and nobody really rips the ball out of his hands, so that was quite unusual, and if you take a look at the end zone copy one of the defensive backs [Hosley] has his hands on his facemask bringing it down,” he said. “That was probably the only reason why the DB did get it away from Pierre because I haven’t seen anybody do that to him thus far.”
A screen grab of the play does appear to show Hosely with left hand on Garçon’s facemask.
In a look at the replay you can see it better, go to about the 40 second mark to see the best angle on it.
Had the penalty been called the Redskins would have maintained possession and would have had a first down at around the New York 35 yard line.
Shanahan said that NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino called him regarding the snafu over the chains two plays prior to the pass to Garçon. “[He] just went over the scenario,” he said. “Obviously they made a mistake and you live with it.”
The mistake may have been much easier to live with if Fred Davis had caught a pass deep down the middle on the play immediately following the incorrect moving of the chains or if Garçon had been able to hold on to the ball after making the fourth-down catch, facemask penalty or no.
In a statement, Blandino said that referee Jeff Triplette should have stopped play to have the chains corrected and to inform each coach of the mistake.