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NFL Says Referee Wrong in Giving Bengals Touchdown Against Colts

Bengals Running Back BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, center, runs with the ball during a game against the Indianapolis Colts on December 8, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photographer: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was incorrectly awarded a touchdown following an official review in last week’s 42-28 win over the Indianapolis Colts, National Football League vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said.

Referee Jeff Triplette and his officiating crew overturned the original call that Green-Ellis was down by contact on a fourth-and-goal play from the Colts’ one-yard line.

Blandino said on NFL Network’s “Total Access” that replays showed Colts defensive tackle Josh Chapman appeared to touch Green-Ellis’s foot before he stumbled -- leading to the on-field ruling -- and there wasn’t indisputable evidence to change the call. Instead of the Colts taking possession, the touchdown gave the Bengals a 14-0 halftime lead in the matchup of American Football Conference division leaders.

“When it’s not definitive either way, that means the call on the field should stand,” Blandino said. “So we made a mistake here. This should not have been overturned.”

It was the second error in as many weeks for Triplette’s officiating crew. The NFL said Triplette in Week 13 should have stopped the game clock in the closing minutes of the Washington Redskins’ 24-17 loss to the New York Giants when there was confusion over what down it was.

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