NFL

Vikings-Bills catch controversy: NFL admits Gabe Davis’ fourth-quarter grab would have been ruled incomplete

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills
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The Vikings and Bills gave us a prime candidate for “game of the year” as these two playoff contenders gutted out an overtime thriller in Week 10. As is the case with any great game, there was a sprinkle of controversy that came about in the final seconds of regulation. 

After the Vikings were inexplicably able to force a fumble by Josh Allen at his own 1-yard line, recover, and score a touchdown to give them a 30-27 lead, Buffalo got the ball back with 35 seconds left on the clock and would eventually march down the field to kick a field goal to force overtime. On that drive, Bills wideout Gabe Davis made a 20-yard reception on the sideline that brought Buffalo to the Minnesota 40-yard line with 24 seconds on the clock. 

Upon seeing the replay, Davis looked like he bobbled the ball and needed the ground’s assistance to secure the catch, meaning it should have been ruled incomplete. Because this play occurred inside of two minutes, it was subject to a booth review, but the officials never stopped the game to look over the catch. 

Instead, the Bills got to the line of scrimmage and Allen got a throw off to Isaiah McKenzie that put them into field goal range. 

“It was a significant distance down the field,” NFL Senior VP of Officiating Walt Anderson said after the game, via NFL Media. “And even though it happens fast and Buffalo hurries to the line of scrimmage for the next play, if the replay official can’t confirm it was a catch on that long of a completed pass, we should stop play to ensure it is a catch.” 

When asked specifically if they were able to review the play and if it would have been reversed, Anderson said: “We were able — several plays after — to look at all the angles. It would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because he did not maintain control of the ball after he hit the ground and the ball touched the ground out of bounds.” 

Because the Vikings were able to notch the win in overtime, this missed review doesn’t carry as much weight as it would have had Buffalo scored a game-winning touchdown on that drive at the end of regulation or if they won in overtime. That said, this was a brutal miss by the officials that could have had serious implications atop the AFC and NFC playoff picture. 



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