Last night, many Chargers fans — and players — were stunned when Cam Thomas was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a Texans Field Goal attempt. According to the refs, Thomas "attacked" the long-snapper on the play, which is a rule that has existed before, but is being enforced more this year.
The field goal was negated and the Texans were given 10 yards on the penalty and a first down. On the very next play, Matt Schaub connected with Owen Daniels for a touchdown. That penalty basically gave the Texans an extra 4 points. It's a rather costly penalty when Houston went on to win by just 3 points.
Here's the thing: even the NFL admits Thomas never attacked the long snapper, and the ref made the wrong call.
Speaking to NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," the NFL's vice president of officiating Dean Blandino explained:
No, this was not a correct call. This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown/forehead/hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.
It's a judgment call by the umpire, he's looking at that, and in his judgment, he felt that it was enough for a foul. And in our review today, we felt that it was not.
It's hard to say how the game would have turned out. Maybe the Texans would have won anyway, maybe the score would have ended up 27-28 in favor of the Chargers. We'll never know.
We certainly know the Chargers have issues that go beyond one bad call. But, it's a bit disheartening to see officials making such egregious errors in what was a rather close game.