A late call in the Atlanta Falcons-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game Sunday outraged everyone from announcers to fans and media. That call saw the Falcons’ Grady Jarrett penalized for roughing the passer after a sack of Bucs’ QB Tom Brady. That gave the Bucs a first down instead of fourth and long, and paved the way for them to get one further first down and kneel out the clock. Here’s how that happened, and the immediate criticism it took from Fox’s Daryl Johnston and Joe Davis:
The roughing the passer call after the Falcons' Grady Jarrett hit the Bucs' Tom Brady, and the roasting of it from Fox's Daryl Johnston. pic.twitter.com/3ba6PCdrHm
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 9, 2022
The storm of criticism over this further intensified later following the transcription of the comments referee Jerome Boger (seen above in a Nov. 2020 game) made on this decision after the game to Professional Football Writers of America pool reporter Greg Auman of The Athletic:
NFL referee Jerome Boger to pool reporter on the roughing-the-passer penalty on Atlanta's Grady Jarrett on Bucs QB Tom Brady late in the game: "What I had was the defender grabbed the quarterback while he was still in the pocket, and unnecessarily throwing him to the ground."
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 9, 2022
Here’s the fuller quote on that from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, which includes Boger’s response to Auman’s follow-up on if this had anything to do with the recent controversial injury to Miami Dolphins‘ QB Tua Tagavailoa:
Referee Jerome Boger told pool reporter @gregauman that the roughing the passer penalty on #Falcons DT Grady Jarrett was for “unnecessarily throwing (Tom Brady) to the ground.” pic.twitter.com/rqxyNzjd6I
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 9, 2022
Many media members and fans on Twitter were not thrilled with Boger’s explanation:
Referee Jerome Boger to pool reporter @gregauman: Roughing the passer was "unnecessarily throwing him to the ground." Implication here is that Boger saw a second act. The sack on Tua has no bearing on the call. In our judgement, this was a phantom call 🔗https://t.co/bZ8HB9W0tm pic.twitter.com/rV4NqbuvO8
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs🇺🇦 (@footballzebras) October 9, 2022
Referee Jerome Boger says that Grady Jarrett "unnecessarily" threw Tom Brady to the ground when he sacked him on third down.
THAT'S WHAT THE DEFENDER IS SUPPOSED TO DO! https://t.co/4HBo55IB4h
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) October 9, 2022
"The defender grabbed the quarterback while he was still in the pocket, and unnecessarily [threw] him to the ground"
You just described a (necessary) action in order to achieve a sack, Jerome Boger pic.twitter.com/RA5q3zGGjx
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) October 9, 2022
“Unnecessarily threw the quarterback to the ground” That’s what Jerome Boger calls a tackle. https://t.co/gAwL3R99b7
— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) October 9, 2022
Jerome Boger called roughing the passer in Grady Jarrett because he “unnecessarily threw” Tom Brady to the ground.
Uhh.. does Jerome Boger understand how football works? 🙄 https://t.co/RKwNkkqb8e
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) October 9, 2022
Many Falcons’ players also weren’t happy with this call afterwards, as per the story at The Athletic Auman wrote with Josh Kendall and other colleagues:
“It was crazy because it was just a regular sack,” Falcons running back Caleb Huntley said. “It wasn’t anything extra on Grady’s part, but I guess the referee saw it the other way. Had we got the ball, we probably wouldn’t be sitting in here sad and mad about the outcome of this game.”
…“Obviously, from my vantage point, it looked like it was a bad call, but that’s why you put the refs out there to make these calls,” Falcons cornerback Casey Hayward said. “They pay these guys to make these calls. It looked bad from my standpoint, but I was in the back end.”
Falcons safety Erik Harris added: “They made a call and they rode with it. Obviously the situation like that, it hurts. We’re upset about it, but it is what it is, move forward.”
We’ll see where the talk about this goes from here.
[The Athletic; photo from Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports]