Referee Carl Cheffers claimed he was following the roughing the passer rule when he called a penalty on Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones late in the first half of Monday night’s 30-29 comeback victory for Kansas City over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jones intercepted Raiders quarterback Derek Carr right before halftime, allowing the Chiefs to cut their deficit to 17-7. Replays proved that Carr fumbled and Jones recovered it cleanly, but Cheffers called roughing the passer when Jones landed on him.
Cheffers wrote in his postgame pool report that he saw Jones land on Carr as the quarterback was in the pocket and take the full force of Jones’s weight.
When in a passing formation, Cheffers emphasized that Carr “gets full protection of all facets of what we give the quarterback.” So I ruled that the defender made a full-body tackle when he fell to the ground. Full-body tackling of the quarterback is prevented.
For Cheffers, it didn’t matter that Jones stole the ball from Carr. Cheffers explained that until Carr develops his defensive skills, he would be given temporary protection. He is still shielded from liability as though he had tossed the ball. This holds true until he can no longer direct play.
What should’ve Chris Jones done? Stopped gravity? pic.twitter.com/1Ll7myCC4S
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 11, 2022
The penalty occurred with fewer than two minutes left in the half and was not reviewed, which angered the Chiefs.
Andy Reid, the coach of the Chiefs, walked off the bench in an angry huff. And then, as the players were leaving into the locker room after each side had kicked a field goal to make the score 20-10, Reid cornered Cheffers once more.
I finally let it out,” Reid remarked. “I made my point” Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, said he has seen Reid angry, but not at a referee’s call. Jones claimed that in order to prevent his whole weight from landing on Carr, he braced himself with the arm that wasn’t holding the ball.
He said, “What’s the best way to approach people?” How can I avoid slamming into him? My best efforts are being made. I weigh 325 pounds, so just know that. So tell me, what is it that you want me to accomplish? I’m charging full tilt in an effort to intercept the quarterback.
Jones made a comment about the roughing the passer penalty given to Grady Jarrett of the Atlanta Falcons for his relatively harmless tackle of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady the day before. Instead of providing the Falcons an opportunity to drive for the winning score, the penalty gave the Buccaneers a first down and allowed them to run out the time, winning 21-15.
They’ve put so much emphasis on roughing the passer penalties that we need to be allowed to review them in the booth, Jones said. That’s the logical next move. Outward appearances are not always indicative of inner qualities. This is becoming ridiculous now. Teams are losing games as a result.
In reality, I dropped to the earth after releasing the ball to gravity. At such a crucial juncture in the game, that’s a roughing of the passer penalty. We’re down by 10 points on third down.
After reviewing the footage, many of these roughing-the-passer calls would be overturned. Mahomes admitted that the penalty called on Jones “wasn’t the greatest call in the world,” but he also claimed that he could see where the official was coming from.
Although “you want to protect the athletes and stuff like that in all facets of the game,” Mahomes argues that “there comes a commonsense factor where guys are trying to play football and trying to win football games.”
“You want to make sure that’s called whenever it’s blatant and they do something dirty to try to damage someone, but you also don’t want it to affect the football game and change the outcome,” one commentator said.