Football Team

Breaking down the crazy sequence following Young's hit on Burrow

Football Team

In the second quarter of Washington's Week 11 matchup against Cincinnati, the Bengals were threatening to score when Chase Young clobbered Joe Burrow at the one-yard line to save a touchdown.

The hit was a massive one by the No. 2 overall pick, absolutely destroying Burrow, the only player selected ahead of him in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

But, what happened after the hit was absolute madness. Let's break it down.

Young's hit caused Burrow to fumble, and Washington safety Kam Curl initially appeared to scoop up the football.

Then, as Curl began to start running with the pigskin, he was stripped by a Bengals offensive lineman. The ball would roll back into the end zone, where Ronald Darby would recover it.

Initially, the play was ruled a safety, one that would have awarded Cincinnati two points. The reasoning was that Curl recovered the football and made a football move with it in play before fumbling the ball back into the end zone. A holding penalty was called on Cincinnati, too, meaning Washington could have accepted the penalty and forced another third-down.

However, since the call on the field was a safety, the play went under review. After looking at the play further, the referees determined that Curl did not possess the ball long enough to have possession of the football, meaning Darby's recovery in the end zone was the first time Washington had full control of the ball.

The play ended up being called a touchback, with Washington taking over at their own 20-yard line.


The CBS broadcast brought on rules analyst Gene Steratore to explain the play, and his reasoning made complete sense.

"When Joe Burrow fumbles the football we know it hasn’t broken the plane [of the goal line] so it’s a legitimate fumble. When [Kam Curl] attempts to recover this fumble, the same three elements of completing the process of a catch have to be done to complete the recovery of a fumble," he said.

"They are looking to see if [Kam Curl] had firm possession on the recovery with two feet down and then time to make a football more -- or a football move," Steratore continued. "And that’s rather quick to me from that look as if he didn’t finish that possession. If he didn’t, it’s a continuous fumble."

Steratore was correct.

The broadcast conversation then shifted back to its play-by-play announcer Spero Dedes, who was still in awe of what just happened.

"I’ve been covering the league for about 15 years, I have never seen anything like that," Spero said.

It was quite the hectic play, and arguably the craziest of the 2020 season thus far. But, the referees were able to get the call correct amidst the madness that went on, which is the most important thing.