Was call missed on winning play?
There were several controversial calls by officials during the weekend's first-round playoff games, including a possible facemask penalty that was not called on the winning play in overtime of the Arizona Cardinals' triumph over the Green Bay Packers.
The Cardinals beat the Packers, 51-45, in the highest-scoring postseason game in NFL history. The Cardinals won when cornerback Michael Adams knocked the ball from the hand of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a sack. The ball hit Rodgers's foot and, before touching the ground, was grabbed by Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby, who made the catch and ran to the end zone for the game-ending touchdown.
Replays showed that Adams grabbed Rodgers's facemask on the play. However, referee Scott Green did not call a penalty that would have nullified the Cardinals' touchdown.
According to the league, which issued a "rule explanation" Monday, a facemask penalty is a judgment call that is not reviewable by instant replay.
The NFL rulebook says "no player shall twist, turn, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction."
That is a 15-yard personal foul.
The NFL eliminated its five-yard version of the facemask penalty prior to the 2008 season, meaning that minor infractions were not to be called and leaving officials to decide if an incident in which a player grabs an opponent's facemask is worthy of a 15-yard personal foul.
The rulebook says that a play on which a player "incidentally grasps" an opponent's facemask in a manner that "is not a twist, turn or pull" is not a penalty.
There also was a possible helmet-to-helmet hit on Rodgers on a play earlier during the Packers' possession in overtime that went uncalled, replays showed.
In Sunday's earlier game, the Baltimore Ravens failed to issue an instant replay challenge on a play on which the officials awarded a fumble recovery to the New England Patriots on a muffed punt.
A punt by the Patriots struck a Ravens player and the ball was bouncing toward the sideline when it was grabbed by New England's Kyle Arrington.
Arrington might have been juggling the ball, replays showed, and then he lost the ball entirely after he landed on the ground out of bounds.
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh didn't challenge the call, however.
"We didn't have enough, we didn't think," Harbaugh said after the game.
January 11, 2010; 12:24 PM ET
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