Take a look at this great FanPost. It doesn't excuse the embarrassment of the game, but it shows that the game would have been much different had correct calls been made.
The NFL has been playing with the idea of making coaches film available to everyone, at a price of course. To give a taste of what fans can expect they have been including this video on selected plays in their Game-Rewind package. I've been reviewing these plays for the last few weeks and have pondered what might be mined from these additional views that would make a worthwhile series of posts. What I saw while reviewing the plays from the Vikings game was stunning. It was like throwing salt into an open wound.
First I looked at all the Cardinals offensive plays that included the coaches film. There is good stuff to be gained from them but nothing earth shattering. You definitely get a better idea of what happened on each play. It was when I watched the Cardinals defensive plays that things turned upside down for me.
I do not like to gripe about or hear much griping about missed calls. They happen from time to time. It's part of football. Sometimes they make for an interesting topic, such as the non-fumble in the Giants game. That was an unusual situation and ruling. Most often it just comes across as poor sportsmanship, or maybe better put, poor fansmanship. What I saw reviewing the Vikings' scoring plays however was appalling.
On each of the first three touchdowns by Minnesota there was holding by the Vikings that was missed by the officiating crew.
The first touchdown was a four yard run by Adrian Peterson. He started up the middle then bounced outside for the score. I thought Patrick Peterson did a great job cutting off the edge and forcing him back inside. Unfortunately there was no help inside. Why? Because Percy Harvin crashed in from the outside drilling Kerry Rhodes in the back. He proceeded to wrap his arms around Rhodes and drive him away from the action. Rhodes had been in good position to make the tackle.
I watched this play over and over and over. I found the NFL rulebook online. I scrutinized that rule book to make sure there wasn't an exception that allowed Harvin that action. There isn't. He committed two infractions; illegal block in the back and holding. But no one was looking.
Touchdown number two finds Harvin the culprit again. Harvin shifted from left to right and lined up in the slot behind and between the right tackle and tight end. The run was between right guard and tackle. The Vikings blew the Cardinals off the line. The hole for Peterson was huge. Harvin blocked Adrian Wilson well at first but as Wilson turned to pursue he latched on to the sleeve hole behind Wilson's right arm. Wilson dragged Harvin along, all the while the receiver tugging on jersey. The announcers gushed over Harvin's great block that Wilson couldn't get off of. Wilson can't quite cut Peterson off from the endzone as a result.
Touchdown number three. Third and goal from the 4. McNabb stolls into the endzone. Why? Phil Loadholt has a death grip on Schofield's pads. From the broadcast view the block appears suspect. From the coaches film it's clear as daylight. Again the announcers point out that the Cardinal defender can't get off the block. Why wasn't this called when it happened right in front of the ref? Two reasons. The first hold, with Loadholt's right hand was inside on Schofield's collar. Schofield's body blocked the ref's view. The second clearly noticable hold by Loadholt on the play took place as McNabb left the pocket. The ref had already turned his head away to follow McNabb. Chalk one up for the crafty veteran tackle over the 2nd year pass rusher.
Seeing all this was sickening. The Cardinals couldn't catch a break in this game. Not from the officials. There were two poor spots for the Cardinals in the game that should have been first downs. The play that Beanie Wells knocked a Viking defender's helmet clear off and the play that Doucet made the one handed catch and leap for the first down marker. (A third short spot was correct.) When Doucet caught the touchdown pass the ref did manage to have his eyes in the right place to throw a flag. Bridges deserved the penalty. No question of that. It's just so damn frustrating that the officials were so blind when the Vikings took the ball to the endzone.
So the one drawback I actually see from the NFL making coaches film available for all plays is that the officiating will fall under harsh criticism for natural human failings. The officials cannot have their eyes everywhere. There will never be a game where they catch every infraction of the rules. Interior linemen would lose their minds if they ever did.
Knowing all that doesn't make me feel any less ticked off about the way the Cardinals got the shaft on those three plays. They made enough mistakes of their own to lose that game. It would have made a tremendous difference to how the contest unfolded had these penalties been flagged. I wish I could share the video so everyone could see.