NFL admits late catch in Vikings-Bills should have been overturned originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The ending of Sunday’s roller-coaster contest between the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings had a little bit of everything.
An instantly iconic one-handed catch, a weak QB sneak, an endzone fumble and a game-sealing interception were among the most notable highlights from the Vikings’ overtime victory. However, the game may not have reached overtime in the first place if not for an officiating error.
Trailing 30-27 with 41 seconds left in regulation, Buffalo got the ball back with a chance to tie or win the game. Josh Allen opened the drive with two passes to Dawson Knox, bringing the Bills to their 40-yard line with 24 seconds remaining.
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On the next play, Allen hit wide receiver Gabe Davis on the sideline for a 20-yard connection. Even though the clock stopped since Davis was on the sideline, the Bills successfully rushed to the line and got their next play off without anyone reviewing whether or not Davis gained control of the ball. Upon review of the play, the Bills certainly got away with one, and the NFL agrees.
Walt Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, said after the game that there was a breakdown in the instant replay process.
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“Even though it happens fast and Buffalo hurries to the line of scrimmage for the next play, if the replay official can’t confirm that it was a catch on that long of a completed pass, we should stop play to ensure it was a catch,” he told a pool reporter after the game.
Since there were less than two minutes remaining in the half, there were no coaches challenges at Minnesota’s disposal. It would have been up to the officials to halt the game and look the play over, but play went on without a review.
“It would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because he did not maintain control of the ball after he hit the ground and the ball touched the ground out of bounds,” Anderson said.
Buffalo proceeded to move the ball all the way up to the Vikings’ 11-yard line before kicking a game-tying field goal with two seconds left in regulation.
The Vikings ultimately pulled off a 33-30 victory after nailing a field goal in overtime and sealing the game with a Patrick Peterson pick. Had they not come away with a win, though, the lack of a review on Davis’ catch would have lived in Vikings infamy.