Chuck Pagano was sure the Bengals’ Brandon LaFell was inbounds when he fumbled the ball directly into the hands of defensive back Pierre Desir. The game’s referees had ruled the Cincinnati wideout out of bounds, negating a turnover that could swing a 13-10 game. He was delighted to win the referee’s challenge when replay validated his complaint.
Then, seconds later, when he found out the Colts wouldn’t be getting the ball because Desir was out of bounds at the time of the recovery, the Indianapolis head coach looked equal parts sad and confused.
Pagano’s challenge reversed the call on the field, crediting LaFell with the fumble. However, it made no actual impact on the game itself — the Bengals still faced second-and-2 at their own 31-yard-line. The move was nothing but a moral victory for a head coach who has lost 20 of the 38 challenges he’s thrown out with the Colts.
What this means for the Colts: Indianapolis needed that turnover. Andy Dalton led his team 69 more yards after the review to push Cincinnati to a 17-13 lead.