The controversy occurred during the Panthers’ first touchdown drive late in the first quarter. Carolina had the ball on Washington’s 30 yard-line when a running play resulted in a 30-yard touchdown by running back DeAngelo Williams. Williams broke right and tip-toed the sideline for a beautiful run leaving the Redskins’ defense in the dust and putting the Panthers up 7-3 following the extra point.
Therein lies the controversy. An inadvertent whistle from a side judge was blown on Williams’ touchdown run. Despite the inadvertent whistle, the referees still awarded the Panthers six points.
A decision that the NFL is now back-tracking from, releasing a statement via The Washington Post, “By rule, Carolina should have been given a choice of putting the ball in play where [running back DeAngelo] Williams was ruled to have stepped out of bounds–1st-and-10 from the Washington 17 yard-line–or replaying the down–1st-and-10 from the Washington 30.”
The NFL added, “The Panthers were incorrectly awarded a touchdown following an inadvertent whistle.”
The NFL has been marred by refereeing errors all season long. This time those replacement clowns we all want to forget about didn’t botch the call; the regular officials we all know and love did.
Now, from a Panthers’ perspective. This error, if ruled correctly at the time, would have unfairly hindered their chance at victory.
In reviewing the replay, Williams never even came close to stepping out-of-bounds. Yes, he tight-roped the sideline, but Williams kept green grass between his feet and the sideline the entire run.
Let’s not forget to mention that not one Redskins’ defender could have made a play on Williams. Even though a whistle was inadvertently blown, only the defenders away from the play let up.
In the end, the refs made a huge mistake and one fans of the NFL hate to see occur.
With that being said, justice was served on behalf of the Panthers. Williams stayed in bounds and had propelled himself by all defenders that could have made a tackle by the time the inadvertent whistle was blown.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1