Did The Refs Come As One Sided In Favor Of The Giants?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 04: Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants celebrates after he caught a 4-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 4, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

I'm asking for it by even writing this post, but the refs played a bigger role than usual in the Green Bay Packers win over the Giants. The refs, in general, are equally good and bad, and the good and bad eventually even themselves out over a 16 game season. But it was brought up in the comments, and I'll write about what I saw while I was watching Fox's coverage from my couch.

The Ballard non-touchdown. My first reaction was that he was out of bounds. From this two-D image, I can't tell whether his knee is still an inch above the field or is it on the ground already. I didn't see any fake grass or paint move until his knee was out of bounds. That's about as close as it comes, and I can understand why Giants fans are upset, but I think the refs got it right.

Jennings touchdown reception that Amukamara swatted out of his hand. I'm sure the NFL will be looking at these possession rules in the end zone for a while because they're a mess. Why is it different for a receiver who stays on his feet like Jennings and not a receiver who goes to the ground (the Calvin Johnson rule)? Why is this rule seemingly different for receivers when any running back who loses possession a millisecond after "crossing the plane of the goal line" is ruled a touchdown and he doesn't have to have possession when he hits the ground? Again, I can understand why Giants fans are upset, but they should have to get in line behind Lions fans.

The only blown call I saw was Woodson grabbing Nicks in the end zone. But he caught it anyway, and Woodson gave him a fist bump for the one handed catch. I'm sure I missed some other penalty that wasn't called, but what were they? It wasn't holding by the offensive line because the run blocking wasn't great, the Giants pass rush was as good as it's been in weeks, and Marshall Newhouse didn't seem to be blocking much less holding. Woodson drew a couple of other flags, so it wasn't like he got special treatment. Morgan Burnett didn't seem close enough to any receiver to even be considered covering one much less interfering with one.

As for the missed calls on the Giants, while this is not a comprehensive list, it's enough to tilt the balance of the game. The missed field goal attempt at the end of the first half when DE Jason Pierre-Paul jumped over the back of the long snapper. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Rodgers threw an incomplete pass to Finley on third down and there wasn't a point when a Giants defender didn't have a hand on him. I forget when it happened, but the time Rodgers got grilled in the face mask after a completion. In the fourth quarter, Rodgers threw a ball in the ground when he tried to pull it back after he saw Finley get flattened by LB Jacquian Williams in coverage. And on Driver's second touchdown reception, he almost stepped out of the back of the end zone prior to the pass being thrown because CB Corey Webster gave him a shove. As with the Nicks TD, that one didn't matter because he caught it anyway.

It was a poorly called game. And as usual with poorly called games, both teams have something to complain about. But the refs weren't the difference in this game because they blew calls for both teams. Instead what happened was that the Packers were just a little bit better than the Giants.

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