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NFL: Refs missed it; Denver TD was a touchback

November 12, 2012
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photo - Denver Broncos' Trindon Holliday (11) celebrates with teammates, including Omar Bolden (31), after returning a Carolina Panthers punt for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) Photo by
Denver Broncos' Trindon Holliday (11) celebrates with teammates, including Omar Bolden (31), after returning a Carolina Panthers punt for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) Photo by  

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL says the 76-yard punt return by Denver's Trindon Holliday against Carolina on Sunday should have been ruled a touchback, not a touchdown.

In the second quarter of Denver's 36-14 win, the Broncos' returner raced up the sidelines and appeared to score. Replays showed Holliday prematurely celebrating the TD by flipping the ball out of his hands before crossing the goal line.

Replay official Bob Boylston confirmed the touchdown and, as a result, referee Alberto Riveron did not stop the game for an instant replay review.

The NFL said Monday in a statement "Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review" and "the result of the play should have been a touchback — not a touchdown — with Carolina gaining possession at the 20 yard-line."

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