I should have known I couldn't stay away for long before having to weigh in on another batch of controversial calls. The power of the Zebra Report lives on. Dwight Freeneydiscussed things with Michael Silver of Yahoo! -- or, not really discussed, more like vented -- as the two walked towards the Colts' team bus following the game.
"Those were the worst [expletive] calls I've seen in a long time," he said. "To have a game of that magnitude taken out of your hands, it's just disgusting. It's not like they made one [expletive] bad call - it's three calls, in overtime. On one the ball's 50 feet over [Chambers'] head. And they have the nerve to call defensive holding? When they can't even call one friggin' offensive holding the whole game? What's going on? They need to start investigating some other [expletive]."
I would make a tell me how you really feel, Dwight comment here, but he has every right to be upset considering the Colts went 12-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. I'd be a bit incensed, too.
Here are the calls, and my thoughts:
1. Darren Sproles is stopped for no gain on a running play, but Colts' defensive tackle Eric Foster is called for defensive holding. My initial thought was that it is very odd and quite rare to call this on an interior lineman, however, this was an easy call. Foster tackled an offensive lineman who was trying to get to a linebacker and block. You can't do that, and it's probably why the Colts ended up stuffing the Chargers on the play. It was a stupid thing to do.
2. Tim Jennings was called for defensive holding on Chris Chambers as the ball sailed well out of Chambers' reach. It was third and eight, so the Colts would have likely gotten the ball via punt if no penalty was thrown. First of all, Freeney's assertion about the pass being well out of Chambers' reach is irrelevant. If the ball was already in the air, pass interference would be the call. In this case it would have been waved off because the ball was obviously uncatchable. The official, by calling defensive holding, was saying the hold took place before the ball was thrown and , thus, we'll never know if the ball was catchable or not.
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That being said, I didn't think it was egregious enough to get called here. I know the official has a ton more experience than I do, and I know he only saw it in fast motion. I'm sure when Chambers couldn't turn his shoulders for that split second it looked bad. I'm just saying I don't think it was an actual hold for long enough to warrant a call in a situation of this magnitude. Anyone from an unbiased point of view is saying just let them play. I agree. It was a very close and tough call, but I'd like to see the boys in stripes let them play on this one. But, hey, I'm a lowly high school official. We're stupid, remember?
3. The ensuing play saw Sproles stuffed in the backfield by Clint Session, only Session was called for a facemask. I'm sorry, but how in God's name can anyone question this call? He turned Sproles' head about a quarter of the way to the side with a firm grasp of the mask. You could even see in the slow-motion replay that Session immediately looked up towards the official. Like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar, he was checking to see if he got caught. He did. Case closed.
Mini-Zebra Report: Dwight Freeney Not Happy About Officiating In Colts' Loss originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Wed, 07 Jan 2009 08:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.