Unlike most of last season, officials hadn’t been the focal point of NFL games until Sunday. Then, Jeff Triplette’s crew got in the way of the Ravens-Giants thriller.
A few hours later, Richard Sherman got away with grabbing Julio Jones in the closing minutes of the showdown in Seattle where the non-call shifted the power in the NFC.
The Seahawks survived 26-24 when Sherman grabbed Jones’ right arm on Matt Ryan’s fourth-down heave to the Seattle 25-yard line with about 90 seconds remaining. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was hot on the sideline, but refused to criticize Tony Corrente’s crew afterward.
“We certainly had other opportunities in the game to go capitalize and finish, so we won’t let it come down to one time for us, or at least comment on that,” Quinn said.
The Falcons (4-2) failed to follow up their signature win at Denver with another in Seattle that would have stamped them as an early Super Bowl favorite, along with the Seahawks and unbeaten Minnesota Vikings. But the Seahawks have to feel like they got away with one.
“No,” Sherman said. “I felt like we won the ballgame.”
The Giants beat the Ravens 27-23 , but were still furious that their victory was imperiled by Triplette and his crew twice in the final minutes.
The Giants lost the lead with 2:04 to play and regained it 40 seconds later on the 66-yard catch and run by Odell Beckham Jr. They then held off a last-ditch Ravens drive that reached the 24-yard line thanks, in part, to a debatable roughing- the-passer call on a fourth-down incompletion that should have sealed New York’s win.
Baltimore took the lead after cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was called for pass interference at the 8-yard line. On the play, both he and receiver Breshad Perriman were looking back for the ball. If anything, Perriman seemed to interfere with the defender .
The call went the other way, and Terrance West scored from 2 yards three plays later to give the Ravens a 23-20 lead. Beckham quickly restored New York’s lead, but then he ripped off his helmet and was assessed a 15-yard penalty.
On fourth-and-5 from the New York 39, Joe Flacco threw an incompletion and drew a late-hit call on Owa Odighizuwa, giving Baltimore a first down at the Giants 24 with 15 seconds to play.
Unlike the Falcons, the Giants withstood the questionable calls to emerge with the win.
Brad Allen’s crew lost track of Dallas’ timeouts in Green Bay and that cost Aaron Rodgers a chance at a free play. Rodgers, the master at catching defenses subbing too slowly, caught the Cowboys with 12 men on the field, but the officials granted linebacker Justin Durant’s timeout call and blew the play dead.
The Cowboys were out of timeouts, so the Packers got 5 yards instead of a free play downfield, much to Rodgers’ chagrin.
As far as calls that worked out, Chiefs coach Andy Reid sent in 346-pound Dontari Poe as an eligible receiver on third-and-goal from the 1 at Oakland and Poe caught Alex Smith’s touchdown pass.
That was, Reid said, was “for all the chubby guys out there .”
Dolphins first-year coach Adam Gase tried to snatch running back C.J. Anderson from Denver in the offseason, signing him to a four-year, $18 million offer sheet that Broncos GM John Elway matched. Gase seems to have settled on Jay Ajayi , who rushed for 204 yards in Miami’s 30-15 win over Pittsburgh.
Anderson, meanwhile, is averaging 55 yards a game and still hasn’t had a 100-yard performance before Halloween in his career. Rookie Devontae Booker looks ready for a bigger role in Denver.
Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler probably made a good call when he heaped praise on his former team Sunday night.
He left Denver on bad terms after he skipped Peyton Manning’s retirement news conference and spurned the team’s invitation to attend the White House and ring ceremonies that other free agents returned for. He also took what many Broncos saw as a shot at his former teammates when he said at his introductory news conference that the Texans gave him the best shot at winning.
Osweiler leads the Texans into Denver next Monday night.
“I have nothing but love and respect for the entire city of Denver, the organization, all my old teammates,” Osweiler said after leading Houston’s comeback over the Colts. “So, it’s purely take the emotions out and have a normal work week and just prepare for a great team.”
Along with some razzing from the fans and some pressure from Von Miller.
AP Sports Writers Tom Canavan, Josh Dubow and Steve Wine contributed.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton