Dean Blandino: Replay ref caught Buccaneers playing with 12 men

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

The replay official already was in the process of reviewing a play in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense had 12 men on the field when Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis threw a challenge flag and cost the Bengals a timeout during the waning moments of Sunday's game, according to Dean Blandino.

Speaking during his weekly "Official Review" segment on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," the vice president of officiating said the official in the replay booth spotted the foul, which only can be reviewed during the last two minutes of each half.

"There are several officials on the field that are responsible for counting the (offensive players)," Blandino said Tuesday. "You have the referee, the umpire and the line of scrimmage officials. They should be counting. We missed that initially.

"But also up in the replay booth, the replay official is counting players on both sides -- both offense and defense -- to make sure that we have 11. We let the play go and missed the foul initially. Then you can see the pass is completed, Tampa is going to rush up to the line. The replay official has to wait to see if Tampa lined up legally before he stops the game."

Blandino said if the Buccaneers didn't get lined up legally, there was the potential for a 10-second runoff against Tampa Bay, which was attempting to drive for the winning score.

"By stopping the game too soon, you're actually giving the offense an advantage," he said. "If you watch coach Lewis, (his red challenge flag) is already out and Tampa really isn't ready to snap the football.

"The officials recognize that. They talk to coach Lewis and basically charge him a timeout because that's the penalty in this situation. And the replay official got word down that they have to review the play."

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