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A bad whistle and a confusing rule robbed Bucs' Ronald Jones of a touchdown

Frank Schwab
·2-min read

If you have Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones on your fantasy team, condolences to your sanity if you lose by fewer than six points this week. Make it 12 if you’re facing Mike Evans.

The NFL doesn’t often make officiating rulings based on common sense, which we saw for years with the catch rule. There was another rule that didn’t make a lot of sense on Thursday night, and it took a rightful touchdown away from Jones.

Of course Jones would have had a score if officials hadn’t blown a call in the first place.

Jones caught a pass from Tom Brady over the middle in the first quarter. He was wide open, caught it low and went to the ground. Nobody was around him and he rolled into the end zone. It looked like a touchdown, but there was a whistle. The pass was ruled on the field to be incomplete, but Tampa Bay challenged and it was clear Jones had caught it and everyone thought he’d have a touchdown.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) had a touchdown taken away on an odd call. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) had a touchdown taken away on an odd call. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

But wait. The officials explained that since the play was blown dead when Jones was the 2-yard line, his roll into the end zone didn’t count. It was down at the 2.

“They ruled it incomplete on the field, therefore the play is dead at that point,” Fox officiating expert Mike Pereira said on the broadcast. “I thought you could consider giving a touchdown here, because if you had that situation on the sideline and they ruled the runner stepped out of bounds at the 2 and they see on the replay it didn’t but his next step took him into the end zone, they could award a touchdown on that play.

“Here’s one they haven’t talked about before, the player who is on the ground on the field and rolls into the end zone, but by rule, when you’ve ruled an incomplete pass, there’s no advance after that point.”

Evans scored on the next play, so the Buccaneers were pleased. Jones probably wasn’t. Neither was anyone who has him in fantasy, or who enjoys rational officiating.

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