Ask the Official: November 28, 2012
(by the Ref)
The long TD pass to Jordy Nelson past Corey Webster leads to this question even though the events I will describe didn’t happen. What if Webster had bumped Nelson out of bounds further than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage before the pass was thrown. Illegal contact, correct? The play continues and Nelson catches a long TD pass. But, that’s illegal touching, right? Are these offsetting penalties? BTW, I enjoy reading your posts and learn a lot. — Jack M.
Rule 8-1-3 indicates in an exception that if an originally eligible receiver is forced out of bounds as a result of a foul by the defense, he is eligible to legally touch a pass as soon as he legally returns in bounds (unlike the situation that occurs when a receiver goes out of bounds on his own). So in the scenario that you pose, assuming that Nelson had returned in bounds as quickly as possible, it would not have been a foul when he caught the ball and ran for the touchdown. Thus, assuming that illegal contact was called on Webster, there would not be offsetting fouls (and the foul by Webster would obviously be declined).