Already up 10-0 over the Green Bay Packers, the Atlanta Falcons stole some waxing momentum when Jalen Collins ripped the ball right out of Aaron Ripkowski’s arms to force a turnover.
The Packers were in scoring range after Ripkowski dragged a pile of Falcons defenders into the red zone. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t hang onto the ball. Collins made a key play to force the fumble, then he fell on it to give the Falcons possession.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2017
That it was an outstanding play by Collins to not only rip the ball out but also to fall on it is without question. However, it sure looked like the Falcons should have either had the ball at the one-yard line or that the play should have resulted in a safety.
Collins rolled into the end zone after securing the ball, which really should have been a safety in the eyes of this scribe. However, the play never went under review, and the Falcons started their next drive at the 20-yard line after it was ruled a touchback.
However, the NFL’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino, disagrees.
Gained possession with left leg touching the goal line so it is a touchback. Momentum and ball at 1-yd line if body part not in EZ.
— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) January 22, 2017
The Falcons took full advantage of the huge swing of momentum with a touchdown-scoring drive when Matt Ryan ran it in for a 14-yard touchdown just nine plays later. This score gave the Falcons a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.