NFL Notebook: Botched call still an issue

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
NEW YORK ó The fallout continues over NFL referee Ed Hochuli’s game-deciding mistake in Denver last Sunday.
Mike Pereira, the NFL’s supervisor of officials, said on his NFL Network show Wednesday night that he has talked several times to Hochuli and the referee remains devastated. And the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Hochuli, an official for 19 seasons and a referee for 17, had e-mailed fans in San Diego and told them, “I failed miserably.”
The call came in the final minute with Denver having a second down at the San Diego 1 and the Chargers leading 38-31. Denver quarterback Jay Cutler dropped back to pass, the ball slipped from his hand and a San Diego player recovered. But Hochuli, who has refereed two Super Bowls and is the league’s most visible official, ruled it an incomplete pass.
Instant replay showed the call should have been a fumble, but Denver retained the ball at the 10 because under the rules, the ball could not go to San Diego because the whistle had blown when the play was ruled a pass.
Hochuli told Chargers coach Norv Turner he made the wrong call. Then the Broncos went on to score, converted a 2-point conversion, and won 39-38.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó With the passing offense sputtering in two losses to open the season, Minnesota coach Brad Childress decided the Vikings can no longer afford to let 25-year-old quarterback Tarvaris Jackson learn on the job.
Childress turned to veteran Gus Frerotte to run the offense for the rest of the season.
Jackson completed just 51 percent of his passes this season. He threw a game-ending interception at Green Bay that sealed the Packers victory and was partly responsible for the offense settling for five field goals and scoring no touchdowns in an 18-15 loss to the Colts.
SAN DIEGO ó LaDainian Tomlinson missed his second straight day of practice because of a jammed right big toe as the San Diego Chargers prepare for Monday night’s home game against the New York Jets.
Detroit Lions receiver Roy Williams is sporting a new look, leaving a cube-shaped patch of hair just above his neck on the back of his bald head.
“I can’t do a mohawk or dreds,” he said. “I’m working with what I’ve got.”
What the Lions got when they drafted Williams No. 7 overall in 2004 ó their second of four receivers in a five-year stretch ó was a standout who makes big plays, drops some balls and speaks his mind.
Williams had 245 receptions for 3,652 yards and 28 TDs over his first four seasons in the league.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Tony Dungy doesn’t doubt Bob Sanders will be back in the Colts lineup this season. He’s just not sure how long Sanders will be out.
The 2007 defensive player of the year could miss up to six weeks after spraining his right ankle last weekend at Minnesota, and team officials are contemplating whether Sanders may need arthroscopic surgery on his knee, too.