Colts win challenge, lose ball in one of the year's weirdest plays

The NFL can get weird as hell. Stick with us here, this one’s going to get strange.

Midway through the third quarter of the Bengals-Colts game, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw a little flare-out pass to Brandon LaFell. LaFell then turned upfield and, inexplicably, began carrying the ball in one hand like he was palming a basketball.

Enter the Colts’ Barkevious Mingo, who wrapped around LaFell’s back and punched the ball straight into the arms of teammate Pierre Desir.

The initial ruling was that LaFell was out of bounds before the punch-out. The Colts challenged that play, and guess what: The referees ruled that, yes, indeed, LaFell had fumbled. Good news, right? The Colts would get the ball well inside Cincinnati territory.

Not so fast. A further review indicated that Desir didn’t get both feet in bounds before stepping out. So, while LaFell fumbled, the Colts didn’t recover. And that led to the strange spectacle of Colts coach Chuck Pagano celebrating the fact that he won the challenge, but didn’t end up getting the ball.

Pagano’s face at the end of that ruling was the face of a man who’s seen everything good happen to him in Indianapolis turn to ash. The NFL is a weird game, man.

Cincinnati’s Brandon LaFell might want to practice better ball security this week. (Getty)

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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