OT Lions penelty question

Submitted by Litt1e Rhino on December 6th, 2009 at 8:08 PM

So I was watching the lions game today and was very confused on the Illegal touch penatly that was called on the lions not only once but twice in the game. From what I saw in the replay was absolutly routine and did not understand the call that the ref was making. I know that this is a poor description of the play and everything but I was hoping someone could shed some light on what happened and why its a penalty.



December 6th, 2009 at 8:21 PM ^

I saw the second penalty (multiple times, even rewound DVR to review)and was unsure about the call as well. The punt landed on the 2-3 yard line, bounced into the air, and was batted down by a Lions player as he ran past the ball into the endzone. The ball was then downed by two teammates on the 2 yard line for an apparently great play. Ref threw the flag, ruled a penalty and touchback. I know this rule is different than the rule in college ball, but haven't seen it called (think Billick said the same thing). Any thoughts?

Heisman Epstein

December 6th, 2009 at 9:15 PM ^

I saw the second "illegal touching" penalty, and I'm not sure why this was ruled a touchback. I wish one of the commentators had been able to clear this up. I found this description of an illegal touch, but it was not helpful WRT the penalty:

No player on the kicking team may touch a punt beyond the line of scrimmage before it has been touched by a member of the receiving team. This action is called illegal touching. This is not a foul that carries a yardage penalty, but it insures the receiving team possession of the ball at the conclusion of the down. Even if the receiving team fumbles, trying to return the kick, they will be awarded the ball at the spot of illegal touching.

There is an exception to the illegal touching rule. If the receivers foul during the play and the penalty is accepted, the spot of illegal touching disappears, as if it never happened.

Kevin Seifert of the ESPN NFC North blog does a "dirty laundry" feature in which he discusses confusing penalties from the weekend's games; I hope these calls are mentioned.