Was Offensive Pass Interference the Correct Call on Derek Carr’s Second Interception?

In case you missed it during and after the game, Derek Carr wasn’t happy about the explanation of a offensive pass interference call given to him by the officiating crew on Sunday afternoon.

Some have suggested it should have been defensive pass interference or even no call at all. So let’s see what the NFL rule books says about the call in question.

First, let’s understand what the league considers pass interference. The rule reads as follows:

It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball… defensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is thrown until the ball is touched.

The image below shows the ball has left Carr’s had before contact, so that aspect of the play is confirmed by the CBS video. Furthermore, the defender obviously hindered the receiver from catching the ball as it was a near full-speed collision.

Now let’s look at what is permissible by both players when the ball is in the air – because contact, regardless of severity, doesn’t necessarily constitute pass interference.

Incidental contact by an opponent’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball, or neither player is looking for the ball. If there is any question whether contact is incidental, the ruling shall be no interference… [or] contact by a player who has gained position on an opponent in an attempt to catch the ball.

For what it’s worth, we already know that the contact was incidental. The defender was not looking where he was running, so he obviously didn’t intentionally run into the wide receiver. But that aspect of the call isn’t relevant to the determination of the correct call – and you’ll see why below.

We know that at least one player is competing for the ball. So incidental contact cannot be applied under the premise that neither player was competing for the ball. But what if both players are competing for the ball? By rule, incidental contact can legally take place when both players are competing for the ball.

So in order to argue that ‘no call’ would have been the correct call, you would have to make the case that the Kansas City defender was making a play on the ball (or had gained position and attempted to catch the ball) by running in the opposite direction of where the ball was being thrown. Technically, the Chiefs defender had position, but by rule he has to have gained position in attempt to catch the ball – which obviously didn’t happen.

So what about offensive pass interference? Did the officials get the call correct?

In order to get offensive pass interference, you’d have to make the determination that the offensive player was setting a pick and/or hindering the defender from catching the ball. Since the wide receiver obviously wasn’t setting a pick (the ball was being thrown to him), the only explanation for offensive pass interference would be that the wide receiver significantly hindered the Kansas City defender from an opportunity to make a play on the ball. Considering the defender was running in the wrong direction, it would seem that the wide receiver only helped the defender’s opportunity to make a play (kidding, but not really). The slot corner that was run over would have been 10 yards away from the reception by the time it happened had he not taken out the intended receiver.

For what it’s worth, one aspect of the pass interference rule that is often confused is that incidental contact with a wide receiver can happen – or can at least happen as long as the defender is looking back at the quarterback. But that’s not how the rule reads. The defender has to be competing for the ball in the air and in this case, the Kansas City defender wasn’t competing for the ball because he’s running in the wrong direction.

The only correct call on the play in question was defensive pass interference. And if the official was in any way confident in his call, he should have offered an explanation to Carr when he asked.

twitter: @raidersbeat


6 thoughts on “Was Offensive Pass Interference the Correct Call on Derek Carr’s Second Interception?

  1. The NFL referees are the worst officials in any sport, professional or amateur – including high school. They are either really REALLY horrible OR, more likely they are following a script and therefore makes the NFL no better than Pro Wrestling. NOBODY can be that bad, that often and always to the same teams NOBODY!

    One of the reasons why the NFL is losing followers but maybe gaining audience entertainment members. If you know football, you know what I mean.

    1. This is exactly the point I made to my wife. We were at the game. We couldn’t believe that call. Also, the “short of the line to gain call” on Carr’s scramble. I haven’t looked at the replay since we got home but… Finally, the Kansas City defender that spun the Raiders receiver around as the ball arrived would have scored high in the Olympics as a pirouette on the ice. WW(NFL)E Joke!!

    2. Yo R8rNW! Preach on. The conspiracy,which is looking more realistic, against the Silver & Black has been going on since we were in L.A. as payback against all the lawsuits AL had against the league. It always amazes me when I’m out watching the game ,the opposing teams fans think the calls are correct. Then afterwards reality sets in and they all agree-we got robbed. From the “snow job/tuck rule” to last week,we have to be 1.5 ×’s better than who we play. Whereas,the Chiefs & the league’s undercover lovers-Patriots get away with murder & assistance every game!

  2. The Raiders have been going through this for decades and I’m not exaggerating one bit..but no one ever listens to the complaints like how they listen to the saints complain lately..only one time in 1977 AFC title game when Rob Lytle fumbled at the one on 3rd and goal Tatum jarred the ball loose and Dave Rowe picked up scampered 99 yards but they called it back ! No one wanted to gather and huddle get the call correctly at least try like they did huddling up for the Steelers in the 1972 immaculate reception game they huddled up for 4 minutes but for raiders no huddling up and on reply now you can see rob lytle fumbled the ball before he was at the one yard line there’s pictures of the ball loose in the pile and Broncos went on to lose to Dallas in super bowl Xll ..it should been Raiders vs Dallas in that super bowl..I seriously can name so many on here where raiders got screwed way way more than the saints but at least they listen to the saints that they changed the reply challenge rule for it..besides tuck rule there like 15 more that cost us big games in 4 decades of football games if I were complaining in person I would name all of them..it’s not even funny I truly get pissed when I think how many times the refs screwed the Raiders over..I was stupid to think that the replay challenge rule would make game more fair but it doesn’t..there’s other ways to screw the team like non calls but when we do exact same the flag comes out and stuff like that..anyways I still love NFL I live watching I love throwing it playing touch now just to sling the ol pigskin around..

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