Refs miss painfully obvious intentional grounding penalty by Carson Wentz, Eagles

Intentional grounding isn’t always the easiest call. There are often elements of judgment that muddy the waters on whether a penalty flag should be thrown. That was not the case Monday night.

A second-quarter pass by Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was caught on the sideline by a Seahawks staffer who was two yards short of the line of scrimmage. The reason the referee gave for not calling intentional grounding, though? The ball “made it back to the line.”

Let’s break down the elements of the play a bit more. The snap goes over Wentz’s head, forcing the QB to chase the ball and pick it up nearly 20 yards behind the starting point. With immediate pressure on him, Wentz scrambles back another 10 yards or so before making a valiant throw to try to avoid a sack and a penalty.

Intentional grounding on such a play has two elements. Once Wentz is out of the pocket (meaning wider than the offensive tackles), he doesn’t have to target a specific receiver to avoid the penalty. He just has to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage. In this case, that means about a 30-yard throw off his back foot, and the valiant effort was so, so close.

But Wentz’s throw didn’t make it. One official is standing at the 36-yard line, the line of scrimmage, and the ball is caught two yards to his left by a Seattle coach. Somehow, that didn’t give away the fact that the ball failed to reach the line — either that or no one asked the ref within spitting distance of the football’s landing spot.

Seattle linebacker Cody Barton even does a dramatic two-handed point toward the coach holding the football, but apparently that didn’t sell the obvious call, either. An intentional grounding would’ve been extremely harmful to the Eagles in that spot, because in the NFL, the penalty includes a loss of down and the ball being placed at the spot of the throw. Philadelphia would’ve been looking at about second-and-40. 

The Eagles wound up scoring a touchdown at the end of that drive, a Wentz pass to Dallas Goedert, to bring some momentum into halftime. It wouldn’t matter in the end, as Seattle won 23-17, but that Wentz incompletion late in the second quarter definitely goes down as the weirdest play of the night. 

Source: Read Full Article