Refs' error in Arizona 3rd of its kind
NEW YORK -- The replacement officials' error that awarded an extra timeout to Seattle in the final minute of its loss at Arizona was the third such mistake in an NFL game in the last nine years.
In 2009, the Cleveland Browns were mistakenly awarded four timeouts in the second half of a 16-0 home loss to Baltimore. And in 2003, the Baltimore Ravens got four in a 44-41 overtime win against Seattle.
Replacement Officials in Week 1
There wasn't a significant change in the rate that replacement officials called penalties compared to the four previous seasons, both on a per-game basis and in Week 1 specifically.
Penalties per game, last 5 seasons
|* Through Sunday night game|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
On Sunday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called timeout with 30 seconds left, but the officials had announced two plays earlier Seattle used its last one when receiver Doug Baldwin was injured. After huddling, the officials determined the previous stoppage had been on an incomplete pass, so the Seahawks were not charged with a timeout.
Teams are required to use a timeout for an injured player in the final two minutes, whether the clock is running or not.
The NFL is using replacement officials while the regular officials are locked out.
"It was my error," referee Bruce Hermansen said in a statement after the Cardinals won 20-16. "We gave them (Seattle) the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred. When in effect, the clock has no bearing on the play at all, whether it's stopped or running, we should not have given them the additional timeout."
Arizona still held Seattle out of the end zone on that drive and won.
In 2003, again in a close game involving the Seahawks, Baltimore called for its final timeout with 58 seconds remaining. But the Ravens weren't charged for it because the clock had stopped due to a penalty flag being thrown against Seattle.
However, after the officials discussed the situation, the penalty was rescinded. The clock was not restarted at the proper time, though, so the Ravens wound up using that third timeout and having more time remaining than there should have been.
Baltimore didn't score then, but won the game in overtime.
In 2009, one of Cleveland's timeouts, called in the third quarter, was not recorded by the officials. So the Browns wound up also getting three timeouts in the fourth period.
That hardly mattered because they were shut out.
In Detroit on Sunday, the issue was clock operator error.
A mistake by the clock operator late in the fourth quarter on Sunday basically gave the Lions an extra timeout and Detroit rallied past St. Louis 27-23 on Kevin Smith's 5-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds to go.
The 40-second time clock started three or four seconds before the game clock resumed after quarterback Sam Bradford slid for a 3-yard gain close to the sideline. Rams coach Jeff Fisher anticipated he could let the clock run to the two-minute warning, but instead had to call timeout with 2:03 to go with the play clock about to expire.
After the league's weekly review of game tape, Greg Aiello, the NFLs senior vice president of communications, said the clock was stopped incorrectly.
"The officials did not signal for it to stop," Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press. "The game clock was three seconds behind where it should have been. .... The game clock stopped incorrectly for a few seconds."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press