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HomeSportsSaints' Dennis Allen sounds off on NFL catch rule after Chris Olave...

Saints’ Dennis Allen sounds off on NFL catch rule after Chris Olave call: ‘It’s changed multiple times’

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Count Dennis Allen among those who don’t quite understand what the NFL considers a catch.

The Saints coach sounded off on the league’s catch rule in the wake of his team’s 13-0 defeat at the hands of the 49ers on Sunday.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know what a catch is in our league anymore,” Allen told reporters, per New Orleans TV station WWL. “It’s kind of changed multiple times.”

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Allen’s comment was in reference to the overturn of a reception by Chris Olave in the first half. Olave was ruled to have made the catch, but the officials reversed their ruling after a challenge by San Francisco.

“Their explanation to me was that [Olave] didn’t survive the ground,” Allen said.

What is the NFL catch rule?

It’s easy to understand why Allen would take issue with the reversal. Olave’s play seemed to be the NFL rulebook’s definition of a catch, which is as follows:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) in the field of play, at the sideline, or in the end zone if a player, who is inbounds:

a. secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

b. touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

c. after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, performs any act common to the game (e.g., tuck the ball away, extend it forward, take an additional step, turn upfield, or avoid or ward off an opponent), or he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so. 

Certainly, Olave secured the ball and got his feet in bounds, as he caught the ball over the middle. The only question was whether he made an act common to the game. 

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Considering that the rookie receiver took at least two steps — and possibly three, as he got his foot down again after tripping himself up — Olave had a good case that he had made a catch.

Why was Chris Olave’s catch overturned?

The officials, however, ruled that Olave hadn’t made an act common to the game. The NFL rulebook says the receiver must “survive the ground.”

If a player, who satisfied (a) and (b), but has not satisfied (c), contacts the ground and loses control of the ball, it is an incomplete pass if the ball hits the ground before he regains control, or if he regains control out of bounds.

There’s no arguing that Olave failed to survive the ground, but the question of whether he needed to will likely rage on among Saints fans this week.

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Olave’s non-catch was far from the only ruling to draw criticism in Week 12.

Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf lost a key reception to a booth review with just over a minute remaining in regulation against the Raiders. Had the catch stood, Seattle would have had a first down near midfield in a tie game. Instead, the Seahawks punted two plays later and the game went to overtime, where Las Vegas won 40-34. Metcalf was seen fuming on the sideline as the review took place.

And Patriots tight end Hunter Henry was irked that officials ruled he had failed to catch a touchdown in his team’s 33-26 Thanksgiving loss to the Vikings because he failed to survive the ground.

The NFL may need to further clarify the catch rule soon considering all the drama surrounding it.


Credit: sportingnews.com

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