The final play of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ win over the Indianapolis Colts was a controversial one. With nine seconds to play and the clock running, Andrew Luck dropped back to pass. Erik Swoope was open along the right sideline at the 25-yard line. He caught it and proceeded to run out of bounds — only to have Jalen Ramsey meet him with a big hit.
The referee on the play said the clock should keep running and the Colts, with no timeouts, lost the game.
Jalen Ramsey with the game-winning tackle! Jaguars win! Jaguars win! pic.twitter.com/iRNF2QuP8t— Big Sad Country (@BigCatCountry) December 2, 2018
Jaguars fans were elated. Colts fans were enraged. Shouldn’t there be another play?
Not so, said NFL official Alex Kemp shortly after the game.
Phillip Heilman, Florida Times-Union: The last play, is that an example of a player being contacted inbounds and driven backward?
Alex Kemp: “Yes.”
Heilman: Can you explain when the play is dead at that point?
Kemp: “When forward progress is stopped with contact and the player driven backward, the play is over at that point.”
Heilman: So, it doesn’t matter if the player lands out of bounds before?
Kemp: “It doesn’t matter where he lands. It doesn’t matter if he drops the ball. It doesn’t matter what happens from that point. When he is contacted and driven backwards, the play is over.”
So there you have it — as soon as a player is contacted and driven backwards the play ends and the ball finishes where it is.