The Colts have a turnover problem. One of these weeks it's going to cost them. But after a four-turnover day on Sunday, it wasn't this week, as Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton rallied Indy from a double-digit second half deficit to win 25-24 on a last-minute touchdown pass. But while the team is 3-0 in their last three games, they have committed ten turnovers in that span. By contrast, consider that the Colts committed 14 in the entire regular season last year (setting a franchise-record and league-low). They have ten in the past three games this season. They've fumbled 13 times, lost seven of them, and thrown three interceptions.
Andrew Luck hasn't been faultless in this category, either, and in fact seven of the turnovers (four lost fumbles and three picks) are officially credited to the Colts' quarterback. One of the things that is clear is that he needs to learn how to take a sack at times. One of his best traits is that he can make plays out of nothing, but when he's wrapped up in the clutches of a defender sometimes he just needs to take a sack and get another play. Instead, he's been trying to do the impossible, and as a result he's lost some fumbles.
One such instance came on Sunday against the Browns. Luck was hit quickly (thanks to poor offensive line play) and was being driven backwards. He was near the end zone and very well might have been called for a safety had he been tackled (though perhaps having forward progress prevent it) and so Luck tried to throw the football. And it didn't work out too well. It was ruled a fumble and the Browns recovered in the end zone, one of two defensive scores of the day for Cleveland.
But was it the right call? The NFL's former Vice President of Officiating and current FOX analyst Mike Pereira doesn't think so.
Basically, what Pereira is saying is that the play should have been blown dead. Firstly, Luck's forward progress was stopped at the two yard line and he was then driven backwards. Secondly, Pereira says that the defender had Luck in "grasp and control" with another defender closing in. The "grasp and control" rule is one that the NFL has in order to protect the quarterback (both from injury and from a stupid play) and comes into effect whenever a defender clearly has the quarterback in his control. The NFL policy is to blow the play dead when this happens.
Personally, I'm not so sure how often this policy actually comes into effect, as we've seen Andrew Luck make a number of plays before while in the clutches of a defender. How is "grasp and control" defined, and it must vary from crew to crew. If the play was blown dead, the Browns would be upset. But is that really the policy? And if there is a "grasp and control" policy, wasn't that play a perfect example of it?
It's important to note, as Pereira does, that the play is not reviewable. So we can't go criticizing Chuck Pagano for not challenging it because, well, it's not reviewable.
I'm not sure what to make of this, but the NFL's former VP of Officiating, Mike Pereira, thinks the play should have been blown dead and doesn't think the fumble should have counted. Ultimately, it doesn't matter since the Colts won, but it's an interesting discussion nonetheless. What do you think? Was it the right call or not?