The replacement officials in the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos exhibited the usual blend of Three Stooges hi-jinks and Keystone Kops “kraziness” — though they were not nearly as humorous in either case. Several delays stretched the game beyond the breaking point of patience, but the two most embarrassing instances of officiating misconduct came in cases where nobody on the crew, led by Robert Dalton, quite understood just how the ball should be spotted after a penalty. The first debacle came late in the second quarter. the Broncos had fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 43-yard line. Peyton Manning threw a short pass to the left side, and receiver Brandon Stokley couldn’t bring it in because he was held by cornerback Dominique Franks. The penalty should have given Denver first-and 10 from the Atlanta 38, because defensive holding on an incomplete pass is a spot foul. Instead, the refs moved the ball up to the Atlanta 32-yard line. We’re not sure why this was an 11-yard penalty, but since the college rule for defensive holding puts the ball 10 yards ahead, and the first down marker was set at the 42-yard line, we can only assume that the crew messed up twice by spotting the foul from the first down spot, and doubling the penalty yardage. Then again, given the ways in which some of these refs have called games, we’d accept any excuse from Martian communication to bad biorhythms. The second penalty spotting error occurred with 8:19 left in the third quarter. Matt Ryan ran from the Denver 14-yard line to the Denver 10-yard line, and Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey was called for defensive holding on receiver Harry Douglas. The head official called the penalty, and then said, “Five-yard penalty from the previous spot.” ESPN’s Mike Tirico correctly pointed that out from the booth.
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Officials fail miserably with penalty spots in Falcons-Broncos game (Shutdown Corner)