Bears Take Issue with Calls After Reversals and Flags Galore
It was a game of temper management for the Bears Sunday when they beat the Atlanta Falcons 30-26.
The officials had them shaking their heads but trying their best to shrug it off and stay in the game.
Some did it better than others.
"Today, as far as the calls on the road, man, it was tough," Bears receiver Allen Robinson said.
Robinson's second catch stolen away in two weeks for an interception came in the end zone in the third quarter on a Nick Foles pass. Darqueze Dennard fought with Robinson for possession but thought he had the simultaneous possession needed for a touchdown, and officials on the field agreed. Then he had the 21-yard TD catch stolen away by replay reversal.
"Again, I think it was bull(bleep) to take away my touchdown," Robinson said. "Simple that me being in this league seven years now, you know when you have possession of the ball, you touch down in the end zone, you hit the ground and maintain possession, for somebody to roll over and gain possession, you know what I'm saying, based on leverage, on thinking that the play was over, you know what I'm saying?"
Foles was more subtle in his approach, but just as pointed in his criticism.
"Yeah, it's unfortunate," Foles said. "We had two touchdowns called back. One, you know, in my history in the NFL, if it's 50-50, it usually goes to the offense. This time it didn't. That was interesting. That was a first for me."
Foles also had a touchdown taken away by replay on a fourth-and-17 pass in the fourth quarter to Anthony Miller and it appeared on replay the ball likely hit the ground after moving in his arms, but none of the replays provided showed the ball actually touching the ground. A player was in the way, or the ball was hidden in some other way. Officials reversed the touchdown and killed one other Bears scoring chance.
Robinson still came back for the key 37-yard TD catch-and-run play and Miller with the game-winning score, but the reversals didn't sit well with the Bears.
"That's BS," Robinson said. "For us to be able to overcome that over come some roughing-the-passer calls, but I think that says a lot about this team because we're a team, we're a group that wanna go out here and we wanna win. No matter how ugly it may get."
The roughing-the-passer penalties were against Akiem Hicks and Mario Edwards.
Hicks' penalty appeared to be a matter of the officials protecting Matt Ryan as he did little wrong. The other play Edwards did hit Ryan hard but the ball had already been stripped from Ryan by Khalil Mack and the contact between Ryan and Edwards appeared incidental after the fumble.
"You can't be upset," Hicks said. "You've got to take it because everybody's going to get a call that theyre not in favor of during the course of the game.
"But that's a tough one, man. I'm just playing football. There's no ill will towards anybody. I am trying to be physical. But there's no ill will or bad intention. So you accept the call for what it is."
Hicks doesn't think the penalty calls protecting quarterbacks in general are properly flagged.
"But I think I could speak for the people that watch the game and they want to see people get hit," Hicks said. "They want to see the quarterback roughed up a little bit.
"You don't want him to stand in the pocket and go on vacation. You want him to feel you around him. So I accept the call for what it is, but I would hope that we would look at that sometime maybe in the offseason and say, 'Hey, let's let them hit the quarterback for a second.' "