Tom Brady didn’t have much to say about a referee who called a penalty on an opposing player who sacked him. It was Grady Jarrett, the Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman who was accused of “unnecessarily” throwing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady to the ground… At least that is what Referee Jerome Boger said as part of his explanation for the roughing the passer call on a key third down late in the Bucs’ win. The referee faced backlash for what people claimed was not a penalty as there was no visible intent to harm the quarterback as both players fell to the ground.


With 3 minutes and 3 seconds to play, the Falcons were down by six, when they appeared to stop the Buccaneers at midfield on Jarrett’s third-down sack of Brady, but Boger threw a flag, allowing the drive to continue and Tampa Bay to run out the clock in its 21-15 win.

Brady was wrapped up by Jarrett who then rolled to the ground, bringing the quarterback along with him.

Surely the penalty was nonsense by the referee because it looked like a normal tackle with no intent to hurt Brady. The play was also reported on ESPN.

In a post game pool report, Boger said: “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 on,” Boger explained.

When asked whether he was instructed to watch for takedowns of quarterbacks like Jarrett’s on Brady following the injury to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earlier this season, Boger said: “No, not necessarily.”

When Brady was asked about the call, he shrugged, saying: “I don’t throw flags.”

On the other side, Jarrett declined to speak with reporters after the game, a rarity for one of the Falcons’ longest-tenured players. Following the call, Arthur Smith, the Falcons coach said he didn’t talk with the officials, however, he was caught by television cameras on the sideline with an animated reaction. Smith also sidestepped the question when asked whether he thought it was roughing the passer.

“I’m not going to get into that,” said Smith. “I haven’t seen the film, and I got to worry about how to coach that,” he added. “I think with Tom being who he is, he’s gonna get those calls more than not,” the 45-year-old Tampa Bay right tackle Tristan Wirfs said, joking about his age.

However, Todd Bowles, the Buccaneers’ coach, said he didn’t think the call was made just because the quarterback in question was Brady. “I saw that one being called. I saw it against Tua since he got it. I saw it in the London game this morning,” said Bowles.

“So I think they’re starting to crack down on some of the things, slinging back, I don’t know. Right now, the way that they’re calling it, I think a lot of people would have gotten that call,” he added.

Lorenzo Carter, Falcons outside linebacker, who was facing Jarrett and Brady as the sack occurred, said: “It looked like football to me. It looked like football. We just played aggressive.”

Tampa Bay was flagged six times for 45 yards, while the roughing the passer was one of six penalties against Atlanta in this game. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell was flagged earlier on the final drive, for a defensive holding call on wide receiver Mike Evans that negated another third-down stop. He had made contact with Evans at the line, Terrell said. “It’s something I can’t control with the call, but they just called it in a clutch situation,” said Terrell, adding: “Trying to get off the field.”

With the attention on league safety, Bowles said there was an understanding about how the game might be called. “League safety is at an all-time high, as it should be,” said Bowles. “Anything close — we understand going into the ballgame, they’re going to call it,” Bowles concluded.

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