The closing seconds of Sunday’s 26-24 win by the Seahawks over the Falcons match-up was not something to put on the highlight reel for NFL referees.
On the 4th down Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan’s lob to a double covered Julio Jones was ruled an incompletion, to the dismay of most Falcons fans watching. In the replay, the pass interference from Richard Sherman was obvious but there was still no further review on the play.
If there was a pass interference call, the Falcons would not have moved 15 yards to their 45-yard line, like any other sort of penalty call. Those pass interference calls can change the course of the game – as a fair call would have this one. According to NFL regulations, the penalty for defensive pass interference gives the offensive team an automatic first down at the spot of the foul. This call would have put the Falcons on Seattle’s 40-yard line with over 1:30 left to play.
Earl Thomas secures Matt Ryan’s tipped ball, tipped by Richard Sherman. Thomas INT has #Seahawks ball at midfield, Press box shaking
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) October 16, 2016
They could have pushed forward for a few more yards to drain the clock and land what would have been an easier field goal for Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, who has a perfect record for 2016. They could have even tried to score another seven points to make a statement. Well, in all fairness, they could have also thrown another interception, but that’s besides the point.
The no-call robbed the Falcons of the opportunity and sent them home with a muffled 4-2 record. Yes, everyone can understand Atlanta’s pain here. They played a phenomenal game as the underdog, but the last quarter was just not in their favor. The Ryan to Jones throw that turned into an interception is what Falcons fans should be mad at, not the stressed out old guys in black and white pinstripes.
The blocked Hauschka extra point attempt put the Falcons in control of the game at 24-23. Throwing an interception in your own field goal range is just not acceptable, especially with the game so close. Granted, it was less of Matt Ryan’s fault as it was Julio Jones because it was a catchable throw that turned into a bouncing wild ball situation. The Seahawks turned that gimme into a 26-24 lead via Hauschaka’s 44-yard field goal with 1:57 to play.
Haus-$!! 🙌 A @StevenHauschka FG gives us the lead!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 16, 2016
As for the refereeing mistake, the Seahawks were given the benefit of the doubt. No argument can be made that it wasn’t pass interference, and with the instant replay coming back on there was no excuse to not change the ruling on the field. If not for pure poor officiating and neglect, which is nearly impossible with instant replays and further reviews, this was just a gutless move by the refs.
Calling pass interference on such a close game that would have stripped the home team the lead would have left the crowd in a fury. Were the refs scared of a mob uprising of Seahawks fans to rush the stadium? Probably not, just not a fair ending to a great game.
. @FalconsDQ was proud of the way his team battled back in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 17, 2016
Either way, the Falcons played a great game and still have a good record. Their 4-2 tally keeps them at #1 at the NFC South, with the Buccaneers and Saints trailing behind. Next Sunday, the Falcons will welcome the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and are expected to continue their high-0scoring season with a win. After that they will play the Packers, an interesting game but I think the Falcons can muscle a victory there. Following that game, the Falcons have the opportunity to knock Tampa Bay off the race for #1 in the NFC South.
The Seahawks are #1 in the NFC West, and play the #3-ranked Arizona Cardinals next Sunday. Will football karma come around and rip a victory out of their hands due to a no-call? We’ll find out next week.