Analysis of Foster’s Controversial Incompletion – Texans Bound to Win Game


There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the ruling that Arian Foster did not complete a catch for a touchdown just before halftime in a loss to the Chargers last Sunday. You can see the play above in the embedded video.

The following is a detailed description and analysis of Foster’s overturned touchdown play by former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira.

"The league needs to go back to the drawing board to figure out what is a catch when you are going to the ground. This play was reversed to an incomplete pass and I thought it should have stayed a touchdown. This is an example of the confusion surrounding this area of the game.To me, this was similar to the two-point conversion in the Super Bowl last season and not the Calvin Johnson play from Detroit’s first game this season. Foster was on his way to the ground and reached out with the ball in his right hand to make sure that he had broken the plane. This is the “second act” that the league has referred to in the past."

The point brought up about Foster’s “second act” is very important. Foster had made at least one “football move” before losing possession of the ball.

"If the receiver is going to the ground but reaches out with the ball in an attempt to gain more yardage, he is deemed to have completed the catch and the ruling then becomes either a touchdown — if the end zone is involved — or a catch and down-by-contact in the field of play provided he had been touched by an opponent. If not, it would be catch and fumble.This is what happened last year in the Super Bowl when Lance Moore reached out to break the plane. This is not what happened in the Calvin Johnson play earlier this season when the ball hit the ground and came loose as part of the process of completing the catch.In my opinion, the ruling of touchdown should not have been reversed and this call seemed to change the complexion of the game."

If Foster’s touchdown was upheld, the score would have had the Texans down 27-29 during the their final drive. In the same drive, a pass that was deflected off Andre Johnson’s knee was intercepted, ending the Texans hopes of a comeback. In the case that Foster’s play was ruled a catch and touchdown, the Texans wouldn’t have had to have been so aggressive with their play calling at that point because they were already in field goal range in position to win the game. A few runs at that point would have run the clock down and gotten the ball in an even better position for Niel Rackers to make the game winning kick. With it being very likely that Rackers would have successful made the field goal, the Texans would have won the game 30-29.