But the Rams’ performance wasn’t the only thing labeled “awful.” So was one call by the officials involving Aaron Donald.
It was the kind of play that drew sarcasm online and relentless criticism of the call.
The Two-Hand Touch Personal Foul
Here was the play late in the fourth quarter that triggered criticism among the “Ramily” and from those who watched the “penalty” unfold:
Donald gives Ryan Tannehill a shove out of bounds. There was no targeting with the crown of the helmet, no Deacon Jones-type head slap, no elbow to the jaw…just something that looked as if Donald was playing two-hand touch in the park with his friends.
But it appears the head official thought it was the most violent two-hand touch ever…as it became a penalty for roughing the passer.
Twitter Erupts Over the Questionable Call
NFL Twitter went off on that call — from reporters who cover the Rams to even one Titans beat writer who took Donald and the Rams’ side.
ESPN NFL nation Titans reporter Turron Davenport tweeted his rapid response to the call.
Davenport’s fellow ESPN colleague Ed Werder then offered his straight-shooter response next.
ESPN radio personality Jorge Sedano was the next one to call out the officiating decision.
Matthew Berry, who serves as ESPN’s senior fantasy football analyst, tweeted his take.
Outside of ESPN, San Diego Union-Tribune NFL columnist Tom Krasovic made this suggestion via his Twitter account:
The Athletic was the next national outlet to witness two of their writer representatives question the roughing the passer call, starting with Nashville-based reporter Jon Rexrode.
Then followed by Rich Hammond, who co-hosts the “11 Personnel” podcast alongside Rams beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue.
Lastly, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer posted a sarcastic response to the clip.
Donald Just Wants to Move on
What was Donald’s chief response to the rare two-hand touch roughing the passer call?
It was a rather succinct answer, via Rams team reporter Stu Jackson.
Donald added “You just gotta keep playing football. You can’t let that slow you down. That’s all I got on that.”
Despite that questionable call, plus Donald getting blown up on this Ryan Tannehill touchdown play by teammate Leonard Floyd, Donald still finished with four tackles, two solo stops, two QB hits and finally, this sack where he fights off a hold:
Yes, no yellow marker flew out of a ref’s pocket on that “A.D.” sack.
But the online conversation of the night belonged to the two-hand touch roughing the passer penalty. Even NFL Memes got in on the mockery train after that play.