Instant replay nearly fails Bears twice

In Sunday’s 18-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, it appears that the Bears were almost screwed twice by instant replay.

Early in the game, with the Bears backed up inside their five-yard line, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked at the goal line and lost the football in the end zone. The Chiefs recovered the fumble and scored an early touchdown on the play.

All scoring plays and turnovers are reviewed by the booth, both of which this play qualified for.

Initially, it appeared as though it would be ruled a sack and a safety, but replays showed that the ball was clearly outside the end zone before Cutler was driven backward, so it should have been ruled down at the half-yard line. But because Cutler fumbled, the point was moot.

Still, at what point is “forward progress” brought into consideration? Since no whistle was blown when Cutler was “in the grasp,” I guess the play was still live at the point in which he fumbled.

However, it was in the other instant replay that I do believe the Bears were robbed.

Late in the fourth quarter, after the Bears scored a touchdown and were going for a two-point conversion, receiver Marc Mariani caught a pass from Cutler and appeared to stretch the football over the pylon. The Bears challenged the call and replays appeared to show that the ball did, indeed, cross the pylon. I don’t know what the referee was looking at under the hood. Was he unsure about the camera angle?

The entire football does not need to cross the plane of the goal line. Only the tip does. And there’s no way that you cannot see the tip of the football cross the plane from the replays.

Fortunately, neither replay ultimately cost the Bears, but you’ve got to wonder what kind of peep show is going on when the referee goes under the hood.

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