The NFL game is increasingly fast and complex.
So, despite best and improved efforts, officiating calls will be missed every week.
Some whiffs stand out, though.
Yikes, this was rather glaring.
“It is a block in the back and should have been called,” Mike Pereira told me Thursday.
Pereira is a former NFL vice president of officiating who is a rules and officiating analyst at Fox Sports. (Mike also quips that he’s referee of “Twitter’s 18th officiating crew.”)
On the play in question, involving Chargers left tackle Sam Tevi, Pereira said:
“To me, the official on the line of scrimmage should have got this.”
Do you see any shades of gray to Pereira’s comments? I don’t.
In these instances, fans from the lucky team bring up other calls or non-calls that, in their view, went against their guys.
This was a big whiff, though.
Trailing by one point early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had the ball near midfield.
The play, on first down, was a reverse to Austin Ekeler.
Tevi, filling in for injured regular Russell Okung and working a few yards upfield on the front end of the play, was tasked with containing safety Antone Exum.
But Exum — who’d taken a Philip Rivers pass back for a touchdown on the game’s first series — read the play and created a good attack angle before darting toward the backfield and closing on Ekeler.
An agile second-year tackle, Tevi circled back into the backfield.
Then with an extended-arms blow, the long-armed, 6-foot-5, 310-pounder wacked Exum in the back, knocking him down to spring Ekeler for 11 yards.
The penalty would’ve been 10 yards, creating first-and-20.
The Chargers turned the 21-yard gift into a go-ahead field goal, and the 29-27 score stood.
Next up for Team Spanos (2-2) is the Raiders (1-3).