NFL rule says Russell Wilson's ‘lateral' is an illegal forward pass


There were a handful of things that helped the Seahawks beat the Eagles on Sunday night in Seattle: Carson Wentz missing a couple of wide open receivers, a game-shifting fumble at the one-foot line, referees seemingly favoring the home crowd all night long, Russell Wilson playing like a stud, etc.

But one play that clearly went in the Seahawks favor that shouldn't have was the forward pass from Wilson to Mike Davis on a QB scramble around the 47-yard line that was not called a penalty. The refs on the field ruled it was a lateral in real time and the Eagles opted not to challenge the call. 

Take a look:

So what is the rule exactly?

Here is Rule 3, Section 22, Article 4:

"It is a forward pass if:

a. the ball initially moves forward (to a point nearer the opponent’s goal line) after leaving the passer’s hand(s);"

So where Davis caught the ball (between the 48 and 49-yard line) was closer to the Eagles' goal line than where Wilson tossed it from (the 47). That's an illegal forward pass.

Still confused? Mike Pereira had a couple of tweets that attempted to clarify.

Here's what Doug Pederson told the media about not throwing the challenge flag on the play.

"Real time, it looked fine," Pederson said. "It looked legit. We didn’t get all the necessary looks. They hustled to the line, but at the same time, it looked good, and I trust the guys upstairs making those decisions and didn’t challenge that. I already challenged one in the half and lost that, so I didn’t want to risk another timeout."

I don't love the rationale here that because they already lost one challenge, they didn't want to risk losing another. If they didn't see it in real time, that's one thing, but if a potentially game-changing play is wrong, you should challenge it. Period. Credit the Seahawks for rushing to the line and snapping the next play before Doug  could challenge.

Even the Seahawks fans admitted they got away with one there.

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