NFL: Refs erred on line-overload rule in Chargers' victory

For the second time this season, a player safety rule became a point of controversy on a game-deciding field goal.

The NFL said Monday that the San Diego Chargers violated the "line-overload rule" for place kicks when they lined up with seven players on one side of the ball on the Kansas City Chiefs' missed field-goal attempt at the end of regulation Sunday, according to NFL.com.

The Chargers won in overtime, earning a playoff spot that would have gone to the Pittsburgh Steelers had Kansas City captured the victory.

The rule was added during the March annual meeting to protect players, especially the long snapper, on field-goal attempts where players can be caught in defenseless positions.

The rule previously came into play on a high-profile play two months ago.

On Oct. 20, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said the officials in the New England Patriots-New York Jets game correctly called a portion of the line-overload rule when they penalized the Patriots' Chris Jones for unsportsmanlike conduct. During the play, Jones pushed a teammate forward while trying to block an overtime kick. Jets kicker Nick Folk made his next attempt, lifting New York to the victory.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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