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NFL refs on Kyle Rudolph TD: no offensive pass interference

NFL refs on Kyle Rudolph TD: no offensive pass interference
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) pushed New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (26) before jumping to make a game-winning catch Sunday in New Orleans. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- NFL referees said they were "comfortable" with what they saw during a review of Minnesota Vikings star Kyle Rudolph's game-winning score against the New Orleans Saints, saying the tight end did not commit a penalty on the play.

Rudolph caught the four-yard touchdown in overtime of the 26-20 victory in the NFC wild card game Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

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Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins took the snap on the play from the four-yard line before eyeing Rudolph as he ran a fade route toward the back left corner of the end zone. Cousins then lobbed a high pass toward his star tight end. Rudolph and Saints cornerback P.J. Williams were tangled up, before Rudolph placed his hand on Williams' chest and appeared to shove away from the defender.

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The space created from the push allowed Rudolph to catch the pass, but referees did not throw a flag for offensive pass interference and let the touchdown stay on the scoreboard.

"We looked at all of the angles that Fox afforded us, and Fox gave us some great views," NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron said in a pool report. "There is contact by both players, but none of that contact rises to the level of a foul.

"This is consistent with what we have done all year long, we left the ruling on the field. We let it stand."

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The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Rudolph said his "basketball instincts took over" on the play against the 6-foot, 196-pound Williams. Rudolph starred as a high school basketball in Cincinnati before attending Notre Dame and being drafted by the Vikings. Rudolph said he did not expect to be penalized, despite the contact.

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"They gave us every angle that they had pertaining to that play," Riveron said. "So we're very comfortable with what we saw. Nothing came through afterward that we had not seen prior to making the ruling."

Former NFL officials Terry McAulay and John Parry tweeted that Rudolph should have been called for offensive pass interference.

Saints coach Sean Payton said he did not see any officials after the game. Payton also said the Vikings "did a good job" and "played well."

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Rudolph had four catches for 31 yards and a touchdown in the victory. The Vikings face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional round at 4:35 p.m. EST Saturday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

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