Capitals

NFL: Refs missed it; Denver TD was a touchback

201211111325483207776-p2.jpeg

NFL: Refs missed it; Denver TD was a touchback

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The NFL said the 76-yard punt return by Denver's Trindon Holliday against Carolina on Sunday should have been ruled a touchback, not a touchdown.

In the second quarter of Denver's 36-14 win, the Broncos' 5-foot-5 returner raced up the sidelines and appeared to score. Replays showed Holliday prematurely celebrating the TD by flipping the ball out of his hands before crossing the goal line.

Replay official Bob Boylston confirmed the touchdown and, as a result, referee Alberto Riveron did not stop the game for an instant replay review.

The NFL said Monday in a statement ``Because the video showed that Holliday lost possession of the ball before it broke the plane of the goal line, Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review. Had that occurred, Riveron would have had the indisputable visual evidence necessary to overturn the on-field ruling. The result of the play should have been a touchback - not a touchdown - with Carolina gaining possession at the 20 yard-line.''

``I thought I was actually in end zone this week but I wasn't,'' Holliday said Monday. ``Coach (John Fox) told me next time, just bring in the ball.''

Of course, all of that doesn't help the Panthers now.

Holliday's touchdown was a major turning point in the game and ushered in a Broncos scoring onslaught. At the time when he field the punt, the score was tied at 7, but the Broncos would go on to score 29 straight points to take charge and win going away in Fox's return to Carolina.

``He definitely flipped it before he got in,'' said Panthers special teamer Richie Brockel. ``But that's the way it went, unfortunately. The call didn't go in our favor, but it still counted for six points.''

The play might have also cost Carolina special teams coordinator Brian Murphy his job. One day after Holliday's return, Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced he had fired Murphy citing ``philosophical differences and productivity.''

Rivera said earlier Monday he planned to send the play to the league because he thought the play should have been ruled a touchback.

It is the second straight week the Panthers have been involved in a play where a touchdown should have been nullified.

The NFL said on Nov. 5 that a 30-yard touchdown run by Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams against the Washington Redskins should not have counted because of an inadvertent whistle. The Panthers should have instead been offered the ball at the 17-yard line at the point where line judge Thomas Symonette blew his whistle because he mistakenly thought Williams had stepped out of bounds, the league said.

Williams kept running and was awarded the first-half touchdown in the Panthers' 21-13 victory Sunday. Redskins linebacker Perry Riley said he stopped pursuing the play because he heard the whistle.

Referee Carl Cheffers said after the game that the officials decided the whistle wasn't blown until Williams reached the end zone and that it didn't affect the play's outcome, so the touchdown ruling stood. Replays show the whistle was blown earlier, but an inadvertent whistle is not reviewable by replay.

---

Online: -http://pro32.ap.org/poll and -http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

5 reasons the Caps beat the Rangers

nisknanenwinner.png
USA Today Sports

5 reasons the Caps beat the Rangers

The Caps gave up a 2-1 and 3-2 lead, but ultimately came away victorious on Wednesday in a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers thanks to an overtime goal from Matt Niskanen.

Here are five reasons why the Caps won.

Djoos saves a goal

With the Caps already trailing 1-0 in the first period, they were about an inch away from going down by two. Luckily, Christian Djoos was there to make the save.

Yes, Djoos, not Braden Holtby.

A diving Jesper Fast got to a loose puck before any of the Caps defenders and beat Holtby with the shot. Djoos, however, was there to sweep the puck off the goal line and out, saving a goal.

That play turned out to be a two-goal swing as less than two minutes later, the Caps scored to tie the game at 1.

Carlson off the faceoff

The Caps emphasized the importance of the faceoff this week and worked on it specifically in practice on Tuesday. That practice turned out to be very prescient as Washington’s first goal of the night came right off the faceoff.

Nicklas Backstrom beat Ryan Spooner on the draw cleanly in the offensive zone, feeding the puck back to John Carlson. With the players all bunched up off the draw, Carlson benefitted from Brady Skjei standing right in front of Henrik Lundqvist. Carlson teed up the slap shot and beat Lundqvist who never saw the puck.

Of the five combined goals scored in the game, three were directly set up off a faceoff.

Hand-eye coordination

With the Caps on the power play, Fast tipped a pass meant for Carlson that looked like it was headed out of the offensive zone. Carlson reacted to the puck then stretched the stick and somehow managed to control the bouncing puck and keep it in the zone.

Fast charged Carlson at the blue line so he chipped the puck to Ovechkin in the office. Ovechkin managed to hit the puck just as it hit the ice and somehow beat Lundqvist with the shot.

Ovechkin was by the boards at the very edge of the circle. It was an amazing shot and it was set up by the great hustle play from Carlson. Both showed tremendous hand-eye coordination to control that puck.

Braden Holtby

Lundqvist entered this game with a 1.99 GAA and .939 save percentage, but he was outplayed by his counterpart from Washington.

Holtby had himself a night. He was particularly strong down low with the pads as he made a number of key pad saves throughout the game, particularly in the second period when he recorded 17 saves including a shorthanded breakaway save on Kevin Hayes as time expired.

Of the three goals Holtby allowed, the first he made a great save on Chris Kreider who looked like he had an empty net to shoot at. Mike Zibanejad would score on the rebound. The second goal came as a shot deflected off Devante Smith-Pelly and went right to Jimmy Vesey for an easy tap-in. The third was a deflection goal from Kreider to redirect a shot that was going wide.

Can’t blame Holtby for those.

Working from the office

The Caps had three power play opportunities on the night. They scored on two of them and those two goals looked pretty darn similar.

There was the one described above in which a hustle play by Carlson at the point kept the puck alive and he fed to Ovechkin in the office. The second goal came with Carlson on the point feeding Ovechkin in the office.

Those two goals give Ovechkin 232 power play goals for his career, tying him with Dino Ciccarelli for ninth on the NHL’s all-time list.

 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Wayne Rooney converts ridiculous free-kick marking 10th MLS goal

rooneystrike.png
USA Today Sports

Wayne Rooney converts ridiculous free-kick marking 10th MLS goal

When England's all-time goalscorer signed on with D.C. United in June, the soccer community in the nation's capital was ignited. 

Shortly after the excitement came the questions. How much does he have left in the tank? Can he actually carry a struggling D.C. United squad? Is he up for the task? 

Wayne Rooney has responded. 

Through 18 MLS matches, the 32-year-old now has 10 goals. 

In the first half of Wednesday night's game against Toronto FC, Rooney broke a scoreless tie with this free-kick strike. 

DC United currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, on 44 points.

 

MORE WAYNE ROONEY NEWS: