Sometimes you’ll see an NFL play snapped right after the play clock hits zero, and everyone will complain.
It’s fair to wonder why the NFL doesn’t treat the play clock more like an NBA shot clock, with strict enforcement, but it happens. What doesn’t happen often is a play being snapped a few seconds after the clock expires, no penalty being called and that play being the turning point in a win.
The Houston Texans lucked out. In their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they snapped the ball long after the play clock expired, and Will Fuller V took Deshaun Watson’s pass 77 yards for a touchdown. That play was huge in the 27-25 Texans win.
It shouldn’t have counted.
“In this instance it looks as if we’re almost at two or three seconds before the snap, and that should have been blown dead for delay of game,” CBS officiating expert Gene Steratore said.
Steratore explained that the back judge will look at the play clock, and when it hits zero he’ll look to see if the center has started the snap. That’s why you’ll sometimes see a small gap between when the play clock elapses and the snap of the ball, with no delay of game penalty.
But this was an egregious miss.
“I’m not going to say anything stupid,” Jaguars coach Duug Marrone said, according to the Florida Times-Union, as he tried to avoid being fined.
The Texans did a lot of good things to get the win. They also caught a big break on their biggest play.
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