Inadvertant Whistle Causes Perry Riley To Stop On DeAngelo Williams’ TD Run
LANDOVER, Md. – Officials admitted a whistle was inadvertently blown on a 30-yard run by Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams late in the first quarter, which led to Williams scoring a touchdown against a relaxed Washington Redskins defense.
Referee Carl Cheffers told a pool reporter that line judge Thomas Symonette indeed blew a whistle believing the running back had stepped out of bounds earlier on the play. Linebacker Perry Riley, in pursuit of Williams and the closest defender, gave up on the play.
“We had a lot of discussion about it,” Cheffers said. “We just felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored a touchdown. So, we tried to piece together if we had to spot – by rule, we would have to put him down when the whistle blew, and we tried to decide where that spot would be, and we felt that spot would be in the end zone.”
Though Williams did not go out of bounds, his closest steps were well ahead of the point where the whistle blew and where Riley ended his pursuit.
“By the time the whistle blew, he had already crossed the goal line,” Cheffers repeated. “That was our decision, and that’s why I announced the ruling on the field is a touchdown.”
A new rule this season mandates the review of any scoring play by the officials. Cheffers said the offense has the choice “to take the result of the play or re-play the down,” while the defense doesn’t have any recourse.
“The spot was going to be important, and that’s why we were trying to piece together where the spot would be,” Cheffers said.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he was under the impression officials were reviewing whether or not to call holding on cornerback DeAngelo Hall and that he knew of no inadvertent whistle.
Riley said he was told immediately after the play that there was no whistle, and he was relieved to hear officials admit after the game it had occurred.
“I didn’t want to push him after the whistle, because then you’re looking at a 15-yard personal foul and another negative play,” Riley said. “I mean, so why not call the play back? I don’t know. I just hate how it happened because it makes me look like I’m not giving 100 percent out there, which I do every snap until the whistle blows.”