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Was Phillip Daniels drawn offsides?

Lost in the midst of the Redskins' fourth quarter meltdown was this very interesting play from earlier in the half. (See video below.) The Redskins defense had held the Lions near the goal line, and Jason Hanson was set to attempt a short field goal that would draw Detroit within three. Instead, Phillip Daniels was called for encroachment, and the Lions went on to get a touchdown and the lead.

Obviously this changed every facet of the game going forward, but if everything else played out the same minus four Detroit points, the Redskins would have been leading in the final three minutes, not going for it on 4th-and-long deep in their own territory. A few observations.

1) If I could be so frank, you're gonna want to watch the left haunch of Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach. There's no audio here, so you can't hear the loud "Hut!" that accompanied his butt flinch. But I think it's better that way, because you can just watch the butt flinch and decide for yourself, independent of the distraction caused by that noise.

2) The NFL rule, I believe, goes something like this: "No player of offensive team may charge or move abruptly, after assuming set position, in such manner as to lead defense to believe snap has started."

3) The penalty was called on Daniels, but as you can see, at least five members of the Redskins defense jumped.

4) "The center moved the football on the field goal play," linebacker London Fletcher said. "You saw about three, four guys move. They're not just jumping."

I love London, but I watched the reverse angle of this about 10 times, which offered a clear view of the football as the Skins jumped. It didn't seem to move at all. It was Muhlbach's back and bum that moved.

5) Some members of the Redskins knew immediately they weren't getting the call. DeAngelo Hall, who was lined up to the extreme left of the center, walked away with his head down the instant his teammates crossed the line of scrimmage.

6) "I guess they called me for encroachment on the field goal when all of us saw the same thing. The fastest off the ball always get called," Daniels wrote on Twitter.

7) The Fox broadcast crew only showed the replay once, and neither member of the Fox team suggested that this was anything but a mistake by Daniels. At the very least, I'd say it was worth pointing out that Muhlbach seemed to move, however slightly.

8) Daniels later posted more on Twitter: "That is very illegal what the snapper did. He sqeezed the ball and his body moved forward. Everybody jumped and it should have been a penalty on the snapper for his movement. We go off ball and movement and that has not changed. Terrible call....In 15 seasons I have never been offsides. If I had that same play with the long snapper using illegal tactics 100 times, I would do the same thing 100 times. I'm not gonna let illegal [stuff] take away from me being aggressive. Refs missed the call."


By Dan Steinberg  | November 1, 2010; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Did anyone else find this Fox broadcast of the game extremely lacking in the Instant Replay department? There were quite a few questionable calls that I would have loved to again, but instead of showing the play again, Fox was just showing the players milling around on the field.

Aside from the terrible coaching and quarterbacking, it was a miserable broadcast. Just a terrible game all around (except you Brandon Banks - you were awesome).

Posted by: MillBurray | November 1, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

back.... and to the left. back.... and to the left.

Posted by: stairs | November 1, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm concerned that referees seem to be dictating the outcome more than usual this season.

Now I understand why referees don't have their names on their jerseys.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | November 1, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

MillBurray,

I completely agree, and knew i wasn't alone. I can think of another specific instance - it was a pass to cooley that was ruled incomplete, but looked like he picked it cleanly before the ball touched the ground. The announcers that cooley looked skeptical, but failed to show a replay. The Skins ended were moving the ball pretty effectively before that (i think this play would have gone for a first down), but ended up punting. Dan, I wonder if you have footage of this one?

Posted by: trevorhoughton | November 1, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Given the circumstances they should have been happy holding them to a FG. Getting drawn offsides shows the team lacks common sense.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | November 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh please...give it up. Steinberg spends all this time on this? No one cares, this franchise stinks and McNabb is gone after this year. P.S. How's Andy Reid's move look now? How'd Campbell look the past two weeks? (and on a bad team).

Posted by: dbunkr | November 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

and if the redskins long snapper flinched in the same situation and drew the lions offside for a key first down we would be ecstatic. the guy may have moved a little, and it worked. he took a risk of a five yard false start to get a first and goal for his team. still a huge mental error.

Posted by: goose33 | November 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I was screaming "The center moved!" before the flag was even thrown.

And yeah, Instant Reply was horrible.

Ah well...win or lose, I still have to come to work.

Go 'Skins!

Posted by: Bebunk | November 1, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for a flag on the long kickoff return the Lions had in the first half. There was such an obvious block-in-the-back that I couldn't believe it wasn't called. The zebras made up for it, though, on Washington's return which was nullified.

With all that said, it was the lines, especially the offensive line, which lost the game.

Posted by: 74umgrad1 | November 1, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The officiating was terrible in this game - Suh's club to McNabb's helmet on his second sack? A linesman calling a holding play in the backfield? But the Skins played a rather listless game and once again became pass happy in the second half.

And the game where Tim Ryan (Fox color guy) actually has positive things to say about the Skins will be the first game he has ever done that. I don't know why he hates the Skins so much, but listening to a broadcast with him covering the Skins is worthless. The opponent is full of stars and is America's Team, and occasionally a Skins player will do something that will require him to say it was a good play. They had that clip talking up how London Fletcher is great (a pre-planned piece), and Ryan couldn't say jack positive - Sam Rosen had to carry the conversation.

Posted by: grounder | November 1, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Redskins fans crack me up. You realize we're watching it in super slow mo, and you think the refs should be able to see that tiny little move? Squeezing the ball? Of course you were screaming that the center jumped, because you're a blind homer. Little games like this happen every down of a football game, Daniels jumped and the rest of the redskins followed.

Posted by: GKINMD | November 1, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

goose33 is right. It's part of the game. Watch the ball not the center. If we'd done, we'd all be applauding the gamesmanship.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | November 1, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

At that position late in the game you would expect the offense to perhaps try and pull the defense offsides.

Whether it was planned or not, the Redskins were ahead at that point by more than a field goal.

Blocking that kick was not as important as holding Detroit to 3 points and then running time off the clock on the ensuing Resdkins' possession.

Funny that the veteran team in Washington seemed to be out-foxed by the Lions, a team filled with rookies and guys under 25.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 1, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

This game was fixed. No big deal. We'll get some fixed in our favor later this year.

Posted by: wbbradb | November 1, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Regarding other comments -Cooley did not catch that ball. After getting frustrated by the poor coverage and lack of replays, I backed the play upon my DVR and saw that he trapped it against the ground. So, that was a good call.
But, I also saw the flinch the center made on the Daniels bad call. Too bad that poor call was made incorrectly. It was a game changer.

Posted by: MDterpfan | November 1, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I didn't see the center jump during the broadcast but was confident that the holder had an illegal movement that caused the Skins to jump. (I assume the holder has the same restrictions as a QB when it comes to what he's allowed to do at the snap)

It's clear from the above, that it should have been a false start.

I thought the officiating was horrible yesterday. The missed block in the back on the Lions KR TD was inexcusable. They make that call 10 times out of 10 against the Skins.

Posted by: msveasey | November 1, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

How about on the 4th and 1 (the lions last offensive TD), looked to me the running back was off before the snap.

Posted by: minerdude | November 2, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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