The Seattle Seahawks were incredibly fortunate on Monday evening in their 13-10 win over the Detroit Lions. Calvin Johnson was down at the 1-yard line attempting to reach for the goal line when Kam Chancellor forced a fumble. The ball bounced into the end zone, and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright batted the ball out of bounds. The refs ruled it a fumble out of the end zone, which meant Seattle took over at their 20.
Unfortunately, that was an incorrect ruling. The NFL's VP of Officiating, Dean Blandino, admitted it was incorrect after the game. Illegal batting is an illegal play, and should have resulted in the Lions recovering the ball with a penalty of half the distance to the goal. The rule and reasoning are explained here, discussed by an SB Nation writer who also works in low college officiating.
A somewhat similar play happened against the San Francisco 49ers in 2013, and we discussed it then. Seahawks special teams player Chris Maragos committed the penalty in 2013, and was actually called for it. The 49ers blocked a Seahawks punt, and Maragos punched the ball 17 yards forward. The 49ers elected to decline the penalty, taking over where the ball went out of bounds after the illegal 17-yard bat. The reason the 49ers declined in that instance is that had they accepted the penalty, it would have been a 10-yard penalty against the Seahawks and a re-punt. It seemed like an odd rule then, and remains so to this day.
My highlight of this morning though has been reading the Field Gulls comments in response to Dean Blandino calling it a foul. SHOCKINGLY, Seahawks fans are not fans of Blandino's comments. I have a hunch we could replace this fanbase with any of the other 31 fanbases, and we'd all be calling BS on Blandino. He's correct, but that doesn't stop fans from screaming in indignation.