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Onside Kick Bounces Other Way Despite Niles Paul’s Best Effort

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

LANDOVER, Md. – Niles Paul thought for sure he made a legal play on the football. The officials thought otherwise.

Paul

Paul was called for illegal touching on an onside kick with approximately 3:30 remaining in the Washington Redskins’ loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, with officials ruling he made contact just inside the required 10-yard cushion.

“When I jumped I thought I was late, so I thought, ‘I’ve got to go up and get this ball,’” Paul said. “I jumped and I thought we had it, and that was it.”

The Redskins tried an onside kick immediately after quarterback Robert Griffin III ran two yards for a touchdown, cutting the Bengals’ lead to seven. Paul sized up the bounce after kicker Billy Cundiff made contact and jumped for it, batting the ball away from A.J. Green and Cedric Peerman and back toward his teammates.

After a scrum, Lorenzo Alexander was able to recover the ball at the Redskins’ 41-yard line. The penalty canceled out Alexander’s recovery, however, and allowed Cincinnati to take over at the 44.

“I was sure it was 10,” Paul said. “I had a man running at me full-speed, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to hurry up and get this ball. I can’t wait for it to come down, because they’re going to get it.’ I mean, I thought it was 10.”

The Redskins could not review the play because they did not have any timeouts remaining. The Bengals ended up punting after three consecutive running plays.

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