On the Texans‘ first possession, Brock Osweiler connected on a pass to DeAndre Hopkins that was blown dead by the line judge after he turned past Reggie Nelson for a 24-yard gain. It appears the line judge thought Hopkins ran out of bounds after he skimmed past Nelson for a clear path of hash marks to the end zone.
Although replays initially shown during the game broadcast appeared to indicate Hopkins stayed in bounds for what would have been a 60-yard touchdown reception, other angles weren’t so conclusive.
â The Beard (@ShaneTheBearded)
November 22, 2016
Dean Blandino, the NFL senior vice president of officiating, offered an explanation on the call:
“The heel (right foot) appears to be in the white,” Blandino said of Hopkins’ run. “It’s not right down the line, so it’s not definitive, but we certainly can’t say that he’s obviously in-bounds from this angle … it’s not definitive either way.”
â Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino)
November 22, 2016
Texans coach Bill O’Brien, however, wasn’t pleased with the call.
“Was Hopkins out of bounds on that play? No,” O’Brien said. “So like, look, I’m not going to sit up here and get fined, I’m just a third-year coach in the NFL. But I think we really got to look at all of those things. You know, we got all of these cameras, and we can’t get that right. And I don’t think Hopkins was out of bounds …”
As the Nov. 7 tilt between the Bills and Seahawks illustrated, these calls sometimes come in pairs. Despite the call not being eligible for replay review, O’Brien threw out his red challenge flag. Per the NFL Rule Book, the Texans should have been charged a timeout, but they weren’t.
Houston eventually settled for a 32-yard field goal from Nick Novak to cap off its 13-play, 61-yard opening drive.