We all know what happened late in the game when the Atlanta Falcons traveled to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers. Grady Jarrett had a routine sack on Tom Brady that would have forced the Buccaneers to punt as they were up by six points, but instead referee Jerome Boger threw an inexplicable flag for roughing the passer — it was simply one of the worst flags in NFL history.
Now, three weeks following the phantom roughing the passer penalty, the refs somehow missed a clear pass interference call late in the game.
It could have won the game for the Atlanta Falcons prior to overtime and thanks to a missed chip-shot field goal in overtime, the Falcons were able to finish the game with a win.
Officials nearly cost the Atlanta Falcons another game on a missed DPI penalty
The Atlanta Falcons had help from the refs near the end of the game when D.J. Moore was flagged for taking his helmet off in the field of play, despite not technically being on the playing field (but Moore still shouldn’t have even given the refs a reason to potentially throw a flag).
It was a close call on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that might have cost the Panthers one point but the next offensive play of the game had clear defensive pass interference, yet the referee kept the flag in his pocket.
Marcus Mariota, with about 12 seconds left in regulation, scrambled out of the pocket hoping to throw a pass deep down the field to get the Falcons in field goal range to have a chance to win it and avoid overtime.
Mariota launched a pass 60 yards (!!!) down the field to Damiere Byrd who had the defender, Xavier Woods, right in front of him. The thing is that Woods was not even attempting to play the ball and instead played the receiver. He had his back turned to the ball the whole time.
Damiere Byrd, meanwhile, was attempting to make a play on the ball but Woods literally blocked him from doing so (the featured picture above may look like he was playing the ball but he wasn’t, the shot was taken very late in the play). That, without a shadow of a doubt, was defensive pass interference. The replay showed it even more clearly, the defender interfered with Byrd and prevented him from having the chance to make a clutch catch
Byrd would have likely caught the impressive pass if Xavier Woods was not interfering with him. Everyone on the Falcons’ sideline knew it too and they were livid. It would have given Atlanta the ball at about the 18-yard line, setting them up for a Younghoe Koo game-winning kick in regulation.
Instead, they had to kneel the ball to take it to overtime where karma ended up taking over allowing Koo to actually have a chance to win the game, which he did, unsurprisingly.
Let’s say that the refs never threw a flag on D.J. Moore and Eddy Pineiro made the PAT to go up by one, the situation for the Atlanta Falcons would have been exactly the same but in this scenario, the no-call would have definitely cost the Falcons the game and the division lead, which would have probably sent Twitter into another frenzy.
Atlanta escaped by the skin of its teeth, but it should have all been avoided in the first place if the referees did their job.