Hochuli on the Hotseat

From the Associated Press –
Referee Ed Hochuli was at the center of another questionable call Sunday, flagging Julius Peppers for a roughing-the-passer penalty that wiped out Carolina’s interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter against Atlanta.

After Matt Ryan’s pass was intercepted by Richard Marshall, Hochuli threw a flag and announced Peppers made a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ryan. It erased the touchdown and gave the Falcons a first down on a drive that ended with a punt. Replays showed Peppers made contact as Ryan released the ball, and appeared to hit him first with his shoulder.

Fans booed loudly when the play was shown on the video boards at Bank of America Stadium.

Two weeks ago, Hochuli’s missed call helped Denver’s comeback 39-38 win over San Diego.

The GreensboroSports.com take –
The replays showed that the flag was questionable at best. Unlike the game two weeks ago, this call did not cost the Panthers the game, as Carolina defeated Atlanta 24-9. If not for what unfolded at the end of the Denver/San Diego game, this would not be news. Hochuli has always had the reputation as a good official and I think that is the case. For the rest of this season though, Hochuli and his calls will continue to be scrutinized.