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Erik Walden headbutts Delanie Walker; Walker throws punch; both allowed to keep playing

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

Things got a little chippy in the second quarter between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

With the Titans leading 14-3 and marching down the field on a drive fueled by Colts penalties, it's amazing that the referees didn't catch onto the melee that ensued between the Colts' Erik Walden and the Titans' Delanie Walker.

At the end of a Chris Johnson run, Walden ripped off Walker's helmet. Walker, upset, raised his arms looking for a flag and then approached Walden. That's when Walden headbutted a helmet-less Walker — and, of course, nary a referee saw it, or Walden would (should) have been ejected.

[Mailbag: Should headbutts result in suspensions?]

But technically, so should have Walker. He threw a punch immediately afterward, and by NFL rules, that dictates an ejection, too. The flag was on Walden for ripping off the helmet that caused the chain reaction of events, and it was marked off half the distance to the goal — 12 yards — on what would be a Titans field goal and a 17-3 lead.

But that's a bad miss by the refs, the same crew that earlier in the night took several minutes to determine if there were extra men on the field, when TV replays clearly showed 14 (!) defensive players on the field when the Colts snapped the ball.

Late in the third quarter, the refs spotted Andrew Luck with a first down on a quarterback sneak, after an incredibly generous spot. It was challenged by the Titans and replayed, where there was little way for the officials to tell what everyone else knew: Luck was definitely short.

Mike Carey, get your crew together, please.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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