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The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for their first playoff win in three decades as they host the Raiders during Super Wild Card Weekend. As they look to advance to the divisional round, it appears they were given a bit of good fortune by the officials late in the second quarter. On a third-and-4 throw from the Las Vegas 10-yard line, Joe Burrow rolled out to his right and was able to thread a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd just prior to stepping out of bounds. 

While Burrow was clearly in bounds and Boyd was able to secure the football with two feet in the end zone, the controversy surrounding that score revolves around a whistle that could very clearly be heard during the broadcast mid-play. Specifically, the whistle seems to have blown in between Burrow’s throw and Boyd’s catch. 

According to Rule 7, Section 2 (m) of the NFL rulebook, “when an official sounds his whistle erroneously while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately …”

The rule continues to state: “If the ball is a loose ball resulting from a legal forward pass, a free kick, a fair-catch kick, or a scrimmage kick, the ball is returned to the previous spot, and the down is replayed.”

If the whistle was, in fact, blown in the midst of that play as it sounds on the replay, by rule, the ball should have been deemed dead and the touchdown should have come off the board. That would have forced the Bengals offense to replay the third-down attempt with just around two minutes left in the first half. That said, NFL VP of officiating Walt Anderson did say in the postgame pool report that the officials on the field determined that the inadvertent…

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