Shanahan explains first down referee controversy
The Redskins were the apparent victims of some officiating errors while they were trying to score the tying touchdown in the last two minutes of their 24-17 loss to the New York Giants.
On a second and five play from the Washington 41, Robert Griffin III completed a pass to Pierre Garçon right near the line to gain for the first down. An official near the Redskins sideline motioned for the chain crew to move the sticks forward and the down indicator was changed to display “1”. Griffin then threw a pass deep down the middle that Fred Davis dropped.
But before the next play, referee Jeff Triplette announced that the previous play was actually a third-down play and so it was now fourth and one.
“We signaled third down on the field,” Triplette told pool reporter Zac Boyer of the Washington Times. “The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down prior to the play starting.”
But it was not as simple as that. Mike Shanahan had asked the official nearest to him for a measurement after the ball was spotted. "They said, ‘No, you don't have to. It's a first down,"' said Shanahan.
When asked about that, Triplette said that he was not aware of that conversation and he would not comment on it.
On what they thought was first and 10, the play call was the deep pass to Davis. Shanahan was asked if they would have called a different play if they had known it was third and one. "Yeah, it did affect our play calling," he said.
Triplette was asked why there was no stoppage of the clock when the chains were incorrectly moved. “Normally, if it’s outside the two [minute warning] we would shut the play down in that situation but there are no timeouts in this situation,” he said. “We just didn’t shut it down in that situation because that would have given an unfair advantage."