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Officials count Bengals’ touchdown despite erroneous whistle blown on play

Joe Burrow easily finds TE C.J. Uzomah in the end zone to give the Bengals a 7-3 lead over the Raiders in the opening quarter as Cincy seeks their first playoff win since 1991.

An official appeared to mistakenly blow the play dead when Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd late in the first half against the Raiders, but the officials allowed the play to stand even though it had been blown dead.

Burrow scrambled to his right and was just inches away from the sideline when he released the pass. A whistle sounded an instant before Boyd caught the ball in the end zone, apparently blown by an official who thought Burrow had stepped out of bounds. Replays clearly showed that Burrow was still in bounds when he released the ball.

The whistle was blown just an instant before Boyd made the catch, and it may not have affected the Raiders’ defense. But an erroneous whistle is supposed to end the play, and for some reason the officials didn’t end that play. Former NFL referee Terry McAulay said on the NBC broadcast that

“What they should have done, because it’s an erroneous whistle, is actually re-play the down, because it was a loose ball in flight. They can’t have a touchdown on that play, by rule,” McAulay said.

But it was a touchdown, a big one for the Bengals, and one that will have the Raiders upset -- and everyone demanding answers from the officials.