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Shutdown Corner

NFL admits officiating mistake on DeAngelo Williams’ touchdown versus Redskins

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Apparently, this shouldn't have happened. (Getty Images)

It's bad enough that the Washington Redskins fell to 3-6 after a 21-13 Sunday loss to the Carolina Panthers, and there was a lot of fallout regarding Mike Shanahan's postgame comments. Now, we can add in the fact that the first-quarter touchdown scored by Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams should have been disallowed, based on a rogue whistle.

It happened with 24 seconds left in the first quarter. Down 3-0, the Panthers had driven down to the Washington 30-yard line from their own 31, and Williams was off to the races. There was only one problem -- like judge Thomas Symonette inadvertently blew his whistle at the 17-yard line, right about the time Williams was close to going out of bounds. Redskins linebacker Perry Riley later said that he would have pushed Williams out of bounds had he not heard the whistle. On the video above, you can clearly hear the whistle.

[Related: Mike Shanahan lighting fires or throwing in the towel?]

Referee Carl Cheffers said after the game that the officiating crew decided that Williams was already in the end zone when the whistle was blown, which doesn't make a lot of sense. The officials huddled for a conference on the field before awarding the touchdown to the Panthers.

On Monday, the NFL clarified what should have happened in a statement.

"By rule, Carolina should have been given a choice of putting the ball in play where Williams was ruled to have stepped out of bounds — first and 10 from the Washington 17 — or replaying the down — first and 10 from the Washington 30," the league said.

Shanahan, under enough fire already for a disappointing season and the fallout from the statements he made after the loss, was terse when asked about it during his Monday press conference.

"They had to admit that, even if they didn't want to," Shanahan said. "I didn't know it was that bad until I looked at the film, but yeah ... that was an obvious mistake."

[Also: Remarkable Bears defense keeps on scoring]

Shanahan also attempted to clarify the meaning behind his Sunday statements, in which he appeared to be giving up on the 2012 season when he said that "When you lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who, obviously, is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at. Obviously we're not out of it statistically. But now we find out what type of character we've got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season."

The coach, in his third year with the Redskins, said that he never intended to imply that he would be playing to ride out the string.

"To suggest that the season was over with is completely ludicrous. I never said we were only going to play young players. … I'm not saying I gave the perfect quote. … We're always going to play the best players that give us the best chance to win."

Getting the officials on the same page would be a good start. Anything would be a good start. Shanahan is 14-27 in his Redskins career, and the wolves are circling.

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