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Major blunder by replacement officials in San Diego

Raiders Cardinals Football

Game officials confer during the first half of a preseason NFL football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


In Week One, the worst call from the replacement officials happened in Buffalo, where well after a play the officiating crew decided that a punt had been touched in the end zone -- even though it clearly had been downed at the four.

In Week Two (so far), the crew in San Diego has made an even bigger mistake.

On a pass to Cowboys receiver Andre Holmes, Chargers safety Eric Weddle applied an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit. The ball bounced around and Chargers linebacker Donald Butler came up with the interception before it hit the ground.

Following yet another extended discussion after the play, the officials gave the ball to San Diego and marked off the personal foul against the Chargers for the illegal hit. The correct move, as anyone who pays attention to NFL football knows, would have been to wipe out the interception, give the ball back to the Cowboys, and mark off the penalty against the Chargers from the previous spot.

Making this one even more glaring is the fact that the interception by Butler was subject to replay review, since it happened in the final two minutes of the half. [UPDATE: And all turnovers are now subject to automatic review. Good thing I’m not a replacement official.] Even then, no one figured out that the ball should have remained with the Cowboys before the ruling on the field was upheld.

And so the Cowboys lost what should have been a first down on the San Diego 15 with 53 seconds left in the second quarter.

Even though this game didn’t count, we’ve got a feeling that the league office will be hearing from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.