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Sunday, September 14, 2008
Official in the middle of controversy in Denver

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

DENVER -- It's notable that the first Denver game Ed Hochuli has officiated in nearly eight years was mired in controversy.


This time, however, the Broncos were the beneficiaries of Hochuli's critical calls. Several key whistles came on Denver's final drive, just before the Broncos touchdown and two-point conversion that allowed the Broncos to pull out a 39-38 win over San Diego
On second and goal from the San Diego 1 with 1:17 to go, Denver quarterback Jay Cutler lost control of the ball and it was recovered by San Diego at the 10-yard-line.


The plan was initially ruled an incomplete pass officials reviewed the play and decided it was a fumble but the play was ruled dead at the 10 because a quarterback pass/fumble rule does not permit a possession change.


"No change of possession, by rule," Hochuli said.


Still, plenty of people were wondering why the whistle was blown after Cutler fumbled the ball. The initial call of an imcomplete pass was ultimately wrong. But, by rule, it could not be overruled. San Diego coach Norv Turner said the call was not "acceptable."


"It's the National Football league and I'm sure the Broncos hope to be at their best just like we hope to be at our best in every game," San Diego linebacker Matt Wilhelm said. "I hope the NFL wants to be at its best at every game."


Once again, Hochuli was in the middle of controversy involving Denver.