The officials messed up the final sequence of plays for the Washington Redskins on Sunday night, says ESPN.com, which argues the mistake had an impact on the Redskins' approach to their final two plays.
The mistake might have altered the game, ESPN says, but the sports website places the ultimate blame for the loss on the team.
Writes ESPN: "The chain gang hurt the Redskins. But the Redskins are 3-9 after a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants for a reason. They keep hurting themselves, and it's a big reason why many, many jobs are now on the line. And should be. It's happened way too often this season, and Sunday night provided more proof that they just don't know how to play winning football -- one season after they won the NFC East."
Referee Jeff Triplette says the down marker was moved incorrectly on the Redskins’ last possession of the loss to the New York Giants, reports the Huffington Post.
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, Triplette says play was not halted to correct the down marker because it happened in the last two minutes, and the Redskins — who were out of timeouts — would have been given "an unfair advantage."
On a second-and-5 play, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a pass to Pierre Garcon. The play gained 4 yards, making it third-and-1, but the down marker was shifted, indicating there was a first down. Washington coach Mike Shanahan says he asked an official for a measurement and was told it was a first down.
Despite the error favoring the Redskins, Washington can finish no better than 7-9 on the season, says the Washington Post. The team was officially eliminated from NFC wild-card contention a year after going 10-6, winning the NFC East and hosting a playoff game.
What did you make of the officiating in Sunday's game, and did it hurt the Redskins? Tell us in comments.