Roughing the passer? Falcons fans, NFL insiders react to controversial call

Grady Jarrett #97 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Roughing the passer? Falcons fans, NFL insiders react to controversial call
Roughing the passer? Falcons fans, NFL insiders react to controversial call

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the lead against the Falcons for the whole game, but the Dirty Birds were showing some real momentum in the second half. A touchdown and two-point conversation in the 3rd quarter put Atlanta a touchdown away from an outright win. 

This was an impressive feat on its own with the absence of running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who was placed on injured reserve this week and tight end Kyle Pitts sidelined.

Fast-forward to the fourth quarter, the Falcons defense was a wall, stopping the Bucs twice. However, it was a roughing-the-passer call Atlanta's Grady Jarrett that many fans believe significantly influenced the outcome of the game. The call kept the Bucs drive alive, sliding into the two-minute warning. From there, Brady was able to eat up the clock, prevent the Falcons offense from another shot.

The roughing-the-passer call against drew the ire of many NFL insiders, sportscaters, and fans.

Fellow quarterback Robert Griffin III took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the call on Brady’s sack.

"The Falcons got ROBBED. Hitting the QB hard does not equal Roughing the Passer even if it’s Tom Brady," RGIII wrote. "That ROUGHING THE PASSER call against the Falcons impacts the integrity of the game."

Kipp Adams with 247 Sports echoed those thoughts.

"The refs in this Falcons vs Bucs game just disgraced the sport of football," Adams wrote. "Grady Jarrett would have had to let go of Tom Brady before he hit the ground to avoid that call."

FS1’s Shannen Sharpe voice a sentiment by many fans that the referees need to answer for bad calls.

"Jerome Boger the referee in the Bucs gm. Just made the worst call of this early NFL season. NFL will need to offer an explanation on this BULLJIVE call. That was a text book sack and it was penalized. Falcons got hosed," Sharpe wrote.

Many other tweets were not as polite and used stronger language. Benjamin Watson, former tight end for the Patriots while Brady was QB there, was a little more respectful.

"Love Brady. He should be the only player that can be tackled by 2 hand touch until he retires. But since that hasn’t happened yet that roughing the passer call on Jarrett was the most horrible call I’ve seen in a long time. Shameful Pathetic. Cost the falcons a chance to win late," he wrote.

Tori McElhaney, who co-hosts Rise Up Tonight on FOX 5 Atlanta, described the tension on the field following the call

"Two-minute warning. Grady Jarrett is visibly agitated. Hasn't stopped pacing during this TV timeout. Looked to have pointed at the officials and said something to them at one point, too," McElhaney wrote. "All justified imo."

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was much more reserved in his post-game interview choosing to focus more on the positives of the game.

"I'm proud of our guys. We don't ever think we're out of the fight," he said.

Smith declined to comment directly on the call.

Tom Brady also declined to comment on the call.

Referee Jerome Boger, an Atlanta-area resident, did take the question from the pool reporter following 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. That is what I was making my decision based upon," Boger said.

Boger said this not something they were specifically looking at following Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's injury last week.

The Falcons are hoping to have better luck in San Francisco next Sunday.

This story was originally published by Fox 5 Atlanta and was reproduced with permission

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