It’s one thing to lose a game after an intentional grounding call that cost your team 10 yards and a 10-second run-off that knock you out of range for a potential game-winning field goal. It’s another thing when the NFL admits the penalty called was in fact the wrong call.
That appears to be the case for Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins. According to Mike Jones of USA Today, the NFL notified Redskins president Bruce Allen of the mistake following the Redskins’ 34-31 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
This won't really make you feel better, #Redskins fans. But two league sources say the League contacted Bruce Allen to tell him that Cousins intentional grounding call was incorrect and shouldn't have been a penalty.
— Mike Jones (@ByMikeJones) November 20, 2017
The reported blown call occurred in the fourth quarter with the score tied 31-31. Cousins had just completed three consecutive passes to push the Redskins to the Saints 34. On first down, Cousins snapped the ball and immediately threw it in the area that Jamison Crowder initially occupied. The ball went out of bounds. After a short meeting by the officials and some pretty darn good convincing from the Saints sideline, a flag was thrown on the play for intentional grounding.
The penalty pushed the Skins back to the Saints 44, making what was a 52-yard field goal to 62 yards. In addition, by rule under the two-minute warning, a 10-second run-off had occurred with the Redskins not having a timeout. Instead of a field attempt the Redskins were forced to make another desperate offensive snap with 18 seconds remaining in hopes to get back into field goal. However, Cousins was sacked on the play as time expired in regulation. The Saints went on to win the game in overtime in a game in which the Redskins led by 15 points with under three minutes to play.
This is the rule from NFL rule book:
It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion
— Chuck Sapienza (@chucksapienza) November 20, 2017
Sure, there was a lot that happened before and after the fact. And yes, the Redskins can only blame themselves because they let the Saints off the hook. But, in all due respect, had the referees made the right call on the field — a call the NFL reportedly has acknowledged was incorrect — at the very least, the Skins would have had an opportunity at a 52-yard field goal. If place kicker Nick Rose made it or not is another discussion and one that is beside the point at this junction