Refs thought Bengals' 2nd-quarter TD preceded erroneous whistle

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Referee Jerome Boger and his officiating crew allowed the Cincinnati Bengals' second-quarter touchdown to count Saturday because they believed their erroneous whistle came after the catch.

Tyler Boyd caught the controversial touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders as an official was blowing the play dead. The official seemed to think Joe Burrow had stepped out of bounds before releasing the ball, but the quarterback never did, and the whistle clearly came before Boyd made the catch.

"We confirmed with the referee and the crew on that play - they got together and talked - they determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball," said senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson.

The touchdown gave Cincinnati a 20-6 lead. The Bengals wound up winning by seven, with their defense keeping the Raiders out of the end zone at the end of the game to preserve the victory.

While the replay booth examined other aspects of the play, the timing of the whistle wasn't reviewable under NFL rules.

"What is specific in Rule 15 is that an erroneous whistle is not a reviewable play," Anderson said.

By rule, the play should have been stopped when the official blew his whistle, and they should have replayed the down from the previous spot.

Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia took a diplomatic approach when asked postgame about the officiating debacle.

"I think that's a good crew," he said, according to NESN's Sean T. McGuire. "I think there's a lot of things that went on in the game, both ways ... I have enough problems with my job, can't do the officiating too."

Boger and the rest of the crew that worked the AFC wild-card game are not expected to officiate again this postseason, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

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Refs thought Bengals' 2nd-quarter TD preceded erroneous whistle
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