As Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sacked Brady and rolled to the ground, a referee threw a flag for a roughing the passer call. Instead of the Falcons getting the ball back amid a 21-15 Bucs lead, the Bucs kept the ball and Brady closed out the narrow win on Sunday, October 9.
Media and fans alike sounded off on social media about the controversial call. ESPN’s Field Yates said “this may be the worst roughing the passer penalty I’ve ever seen” via Twitter.
“I don’t throw the flags,” Brady told reporters afterward when asked about the controversial call.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles saw that kind of call coming. Bowles noted the serious hit that Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took in Week 4 that stirred concussion concerns around the league.
“I saw that one being called,” Bowles told reporters regarding the hit to Brady. “I saw it against Tua [Tagovailoa] since he got it. I saw it in the London game this morning. I think they’re starting to crack down on some of the things [such] as slinging back. The way they’re calling it right now, I think, a lot of people would have got that call.”
Atlanta had all the momentum before that moment amid a defensive stop after going 12 plays and 70 yards to cut the lead to a score. Brady instead sealed the game on a 9-yard pass to Mike Evans with 2:46 left and no timeouts left for Atlanta.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith dodged talking about the penalty afterward. He referred to it as something he can’t control.
Brady meanwhile remained in control of the Falcons as he improved to 11-0 in his career against the Falcons with the Bucs’ 21-15 win on Sunday. He notably mentioned his throwing shoulder felt “great” afterward, which didn’t land on during Jarrett’s sack. Brady hurt it in the Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
ESPN Prelude Says It All?
Amid the media’s reaction to Jarrett’s penalty on Brady, ESPN’s “Get Up!” previously produced a vignette to drive home the hosts’ thoughts about contact in football. Two hosts, acting as defensive players, gently laid down another host, acting as the quarterback, and read him a story. NFL fan Will Cave shared the clip in light of Jarrett’s sack against Brady.
“How the refs want Jarrett Grady to sack Tom Brady,” Cave tweeted.
Brady Kicked Jarrett Afterward
Brady didn’t take Jarrett’s sack passively. He kicked Jarrett afterward and avoided an adjacent penalty.
Brady’s actions in addition to the penalty drew the ire of Falcons fans amid the latest loss to a Brady-led team.
NFL Referee Breaks Silence on Call
NFL referee Jerome Boger explained the call to a “pool reporter” afterward.
“What I had was the defender grabbed the quarterback while he was still in the pocket, and unnecessarily throwing him to the ground,” Boger said via The Athletic’s Greg Auman.