Controversy seems to follow NFL referee Jeff Triplette, and the Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t be happier about it.
The NFL admitted earlier this week that Triplette’s crew botched the ending of the Giants-Redskins game last week, and the Bengals were the beneficiaries of another bizarre call by Triplette’s crew during Sunday’s 42-28 victory against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium.
Leading 7-0 and facing fourth and goal at the 1 late in the second half, Cincinnati went for it and sent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis off right tackle.
The officials initially ruled Green-Ellis landed short of the goal line, but after replay review Triplette announced that Green-Ellis wasn’t touched and therefore was able to continue into the end zone for a touchdown.
But Indianapolis nose tackle Josh Chapman appeared to get a hand on Green-Ellis’ foot in the backfield, causing him to fall. In an interview with a pool reporter, Triplette indicated that was not even something they viewed.
Pool reporter: What did you see in the review?
Triplette: When we reviewed the video at the goal line, there was nobody touching him there and then he bounced into the end zone.
Reporter: What about the nose tackle? It appeared he might have had a shot at Green-Ellis.
Triplette: I don’t know about that. What position? There was nobody that touched him at the goal line.
Reporter: So you didn’t look at whether anyone touched him in the backfield?
Triplette: We looked at the goal line. Those were the shots that we looked at.
Reporter: There was a question about whether the nose tackle initially swiped at him and started him tripping.
Triplette: We reviewed the goal line.
The play gave the Bengals a 14-0 lead heading into halftime and left the Indianapolis sideline seething.
“We thought we had made a play and held,” a more reserved Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game.
Green-Ellis admitted it was a huge play and, possibly, a huge break.
“I felt my left foot get hit, but I don’t know if I tripped on my own or was hit,” he said. “I’ll have to watch film and she how it went. It was very crucial.”
Collins capitalizes: Making only his third start of the year and going up against Robert Mathis, the NFL leader with 15.5 sacks, Anthony Collins came up big at left tackle for the Bengals.
Collins held Mathis without a sack and limited him to one tackle.
“I had to stand up tall and take a challenge and be a man,” Collins said.
Collins’ other two starts came when Andrew Whitworth was injured, but Sunday’s call came as part of a line shuffle that moved Whitworth to guard, an alignment the team first used last week at San Diego when Clint Boling went down to a season-ending knee injury.
“I watched a lot of film on (Mathis), knowing the things he does on every play,” Collins said. “And make sure you don’t take no play off, because he will make you look foolish if you do.”
In the season opener at Chicago, Collins started for the injured Whitworth and held future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers to no sacks and no tackles.
Quick hitters: The Bengals have scored at least 40 points in three consecutive home games for the first time in franchise history … Dating back to last year, the Bengals have won seven consecutive games at home, which is their longest streak since Paul Brown Stadium opened in 2000. … Sunday’s game was the NFL’s first in more than five years to feature no turnovers or sacks by either team (Eagles-Giants on Dec. 7, 2008). …The Bengals had two more scoring drives of at least 80 yards Sunday (83 and 80), giving them 16 for the season. … Giovani Bernard’s 99-yard performance left the Bengals 1 yard shy of their first 100-yard rusher of the season.