Breaking down the Jimmy Graham first down controversy in Packers’ win over Seahawks

first_imgIs this worth being upset about?No.Seahawks fans will probably declare “Jimmy Graham was short!” for years to come, just like Cowboys fans have said “Dez caught it!” But this play is far less controversial than the Bryant non-catch. It seemed like Graham picked up the first, but even if he didn’t, the scenario made it extremely difficult for Seattle to win, anyway.Also, this play is not the reason Seattle lost the game. There were plenty of other opportunities for victory, like not being down 28-10 in the second half. Here’s the scenario: It was third-and-9 at the Seattle 45-yard line. The Seahawks had a timeout and were trailing by five points. A stop likely would force Green Bay to punt the ball with about 1:48 remaining.Instead, Seattle gave up a catch to Graham, who was tackled with the ball right at the first down marker. It appeared Graham was clearly short, but that’s because Fox’s computer-generated yellow first down marker for the TV audience was misplaced.MORE: Marshawn Lynch offers advice for NFL playersThe yellow first down line on TV“Jimmy Graham was clearly short.”Just stop. The yellow line is and always has been unofficial. And in this case, the yellow line wasn’t even close.— Packers Stuff (@Packers_Stuff) January 13, 2020A lot of people, myself included, thought the play was short on initial viewing because he was clearly tackled before the yellow line on replay. But a closer inspection of the play shows the yellow line was fairly inaccurate, being placed slightly ahead of the actual first down marker.MORE: Davante Adams proves he’s a superstar in Packers winVideo evidence of Jimmy Graham’s catchThis is the main replay of Graham’s catch.It’s a tough angle, and there’s not really much you can take away from it. He could have the first, he could be a few inches short. But another angle of the play shows what happened with a little more clarity.Graham’s legs kind of flop around in the air, with one landing on top of the Seahawks defender tackling him. This means he is not down until the front part of his body lands, and that’s pretty much right at the first down marker. He almost lands right at the yellow line, which we’ve already noted is past the first down marker.Even if Graham was short, this would have led to a fourth-and-inches play for Green Bay. A QB sneak up the middle probably would have sealed the game one play later.What did Pete Carroll and Aaron Rodgers say about the catch?Even with the yellow first down marker being wrong, the play was close. Several Seahawks players felt it was short, as did coach Pete Carroll.”My guys just were telling me it was short, you know?” Carroll said after the game. “It looked short and had they called him short, then it would’ve been short. It’s the same thing last week: you call ’em a score, you let ’em score. They wouldn’t overturn that one — I’m going back to the Niners game, I guess. That’s how it goes.”MORE: How Packers can upset 49ersWhen Aaron Rodgers was asked about it post-game, he said he couldn’t really see a clear angle of the play when he was on the field. But the Packers QB did add, “We kind of got hosed on the first quarter one, so I was hoping we didn’t get hosed again.”Rodgers is likely referring to the fumble by Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister. Officials ruled on replay that he did fumble, but there was no clear recovery, so the play stood as a first down rather than a turnover. The Packers escaped with another controversial NFL playoff win Sunday night when they defeated the Seahawks 28-23 in the divisional round.In 2014 the phrase was “Dez caught it,” but in 2020, the phrase is “Jimmy Graham was short.” This is the result of a questionable decision by the officials on a critical third-down play coming out of the two minute warning.last_img

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