The New York Jets had a potential game-tying 36-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith wiped out in the fourth quarter due to an ill-timed timeout from the sidelines Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Following the 31-24 loss, defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson shouldered blame for calling the timeout after seeing offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg gesticulating for a stoppage.
"I saw Marty calling the timeout and I was into the game," Richardson said, per NJ.com. "I knew it was crunch time. I didn't know if he wanted the timeout or not. I just knew he called it. I helped him out a little bit. I whispered in the referee's ear 'timeout,' and he called it before the ball was thrown. It's just bad timing on my part. I feel like I let the team down. It just happens when you're into the game like that, though."
Video clearly showed Mornhinweg calling timeout, then Richardson stepping up to the referee prior to the play being ran.
The Jets ended up converting a first down on the next play, but couldn't punch it into the end zone and ultimately lost by seven.
The NFL rule states a head coach or any player on the field (not a substitute) can call a timeout. However, NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement the play was officiated correctly, because "when a snap is imminent, game officials are instructed not to turn their attention away from the field to verify who is calling the timeout. A game official should not grant the timeout only if he is certain it is not being requested by the head coach."
Coach Rex Ryan can't come down too hard on Richardson or Mornhinweg for initially wanting the timeout, as he admitted in the post-game press conference, he's made that mistake as a coordinator before.
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