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Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Officials hurt Chargers in opening loss

By Bill Williamson

So it turns out the San Diego Chargers' latest stunning collapse is not all on them.

Well, that’s comforting.

The NFL admitted that it made a mistake that directly cost the Chargers four points in Monday’s 31-28 home loss to Houston. The Chargers, famous for blowing leads in the Norv Turner era, begin the Mike McCoy regime by moving out to a 28-7 lead in the third quarter.

NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on the NFL Network that Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas was wrongly penalized on a hit on Texans long-snapper Jon Weeks. The penalty took a Texans field goal off the board and set Houston up for a touchdown on the next play, making it a 28-21 game instead of 28-17. The Texans won the game on a tie-breaking field goal as time expired.

“This was not a correct call,” Blandino said. “This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or an extra point from a direct, forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown, forehead, or hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.”

Asked about the play before Blandino explained the mistake, McCoy took the high road.

“The officials are going to make judgment calls and we have to live with them,” McCoy said. “We can’t worry about that. It’s all a part of the game. There are certain judgment calls they want to make and we can’t worry about it now. We just have to adjust. I might act a certain way on the sideline, but that’s all part of the game and you move on.”

I wouldn’t expect McCoy to say much more on the subject.

Perhaps, mentally, this announcement will help the Chargers move on. At least they know that it wasn’t totally their fault. But the truth is, any time a team blows a three-touchdown lead in the second half, no single play is the reason.