Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports' dedicated NFL blog, has taken some hits from us Colts fans of late because... well, the writing has been pretty bad. I wish I could say different because there are some good people there, but in general it leaves a lot to be desired as a football blog. Chris Chase's silly hit piece on Jim Irsay was one of the worst "professional" blog articles I'd ever read, and Chris took his lumps for it. He was blasted not just on this site, but in the comments section of his own article. Now, we have Doug Farrar, who is pretty much openly saying that the Ryan Moats fumble was incorrectly corrected after a replay review, and that the resulting call affected the "landscape in the AFC South for the rest of the season."
Sorry Doug, but you're being a bit of a drama queen with that statement.
First off, let's be clear on something. Ryan Moats did indeed fumble. The replay clearly shows that. It was incorrectly not called a fumble after the whistle blew. Then, when the Texans let the clock tick to the two minute warning, that gave Colts coach Jim Caldwell enough time to digest the replays and throw a red challenge flag. The challenge was Moats fumbled. The refs reviewed, saw that he had, and then saw that the ball was recovered by Indy in the endzone for a touchback.
What Doug Farrar and Alan Burge of the Houston Texans Examiner, who Farrar quotes in his blog post, are arguing is that the ball may have touched tackler Antoine Bethea's arm while Bethea's leg was dangling out-of-bounds. If Bethea's arm was touching the ball while his leg was touching out-of-bounds, that means the fumble was not established back in-bounds. Thus, Texans ball on the two.
However, when you watch the replays, it most certainly is not conclusive that Bethea's arm is touching the ball while he is established as out-of-bounds. Burge has a still screen apparently showing it, but it looks so grainy I swear I see the second gunman hiding behind a grassy knoll in the background.
What did seem conclusive is Moats' fumble and Jerraud Powers' heads-up play to re-establish his feet in bounds to gain control of the ball. THAT is what the refs were looking at, and that is what they called. Remember, refs are only allotted one minute and thirty seconds to view all this crap.
As many of you know, I am very tough on refs, and I personally have no love for Jeff Triplette, who is better served bagging my groceries than reffing my football team's games. But in this case, he got the call right, or, at the very least, got the call as right as possible given the allotted time. And despite Farrar's dramatics, the call did not have the kind of far reaching consequences that he pathetically seems to suggest. Allowing the Colts to score the eventual game-winning TD in the fourth quarter and then missing a gimme FG to potentially force OT were the reasons the Texans lost, not the Moats fumble call.