Touchdown that Wasn’t Haunts Raiders in Loss

Ref gives explanation for reversed touchdown

By Laurence Scott
|  Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009  |  Updated 8:48 AM PDT
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Touchdown that Wasn’t Haunts Raiders in Loss

AP

Ref gives explanation for reversed touchdown in Raiders 24-20 loss.

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The 19-yard JaMarcus Russell to Louis Murphy second quarter touchdown, that wasn’t – became a major factor in the Raiders opening night 24-20 loss to San Diego. Oakland ended up kicking a field goal after a booth review reversed the call on the field after what was an apparent touchdown.

That four point swing was the actual difference on the scoreboard at the end of the game. “I had no idea I lost the ball, honestly… I came down and when I was pushing myself up, that’s the only time I really felt the ball come out… when I was getting up to come out to celebrate, but all my teammates said that they thought it was a touchdown,” said Murphy, adding, “both feet and my rear end landed in the endzone, fell to the ground and then the ball came out, but I haven’t seen it yet.”

To see the play, click here and go to the 1:30 mark.

The following is the pool report from Raiders beat writer/pool reporter Steve Corkran in regard to referee Carl Cheffers’ crew overturning a touchdown ruling on the pass Russell to Murphy.

Corkran: “We just want the ruling on why you decided to look at the play at the end of half on when you called touchdown for Louis Murphy, then you said that you wanted to review it, and then it got overturned. What was the ruling on that?”

Cheffers: “OK, great, let me just grab the (rule) book here, and I’m going to read you what the book says. We had a situation where the receiver caught the pass in the air and as he is coming down to the ground, he is actually going to the ground. That’s a defined term in our rule book, a player, a receiver who is going to the ground. The rule book says, if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass, with or without contact by opponent – so that can be on his own; In this case, he got hit by an opponent – he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete. That wasn’t the case. What we ruled, what we saw in replay, was that he was going to the ground, as he came down the ball came loose, he lost control of the ball, the ball skidded along the ground, he eventually completely lost control of the ball. So, by rule, by what we saw in review, it’s an incomplete pass.”
 
Corkran: “So, this has nothing to do with him having to -- he got both feet down -- it has nothing to do with that, it has nothing to do with making a football move? It’s just what you said there?

Cheffers: “Yeah, he was up, I think if I remember, (on) one foot, he was getting contacted prior to his second foot coming down. By definition in our rule book, he’s going to the ground and has to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire act of the catch. And in this case, he lost possession and the ball hit the ground. Therefore, it’s incomplete.”
 
Corkran: “It was pretty clear-cut?”
Cheffers: “Pretty clear-cut.”
 
Corkran: “Carl, thank you for your time.”
Cheffers: “My pleasure.”

The Raiders play at Kansas City next Sunday.

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