One of the more under-appreciated aspects of winning an NFL football game is that the conversation that follows typically doesn’t involve the refs. But when you lose a heartbreaker in part because, say, Bradley Chubb was flagged for roughing the passer on a pretty clean-looking hit – that’s when you get reactions like this, from Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe:
“What I want to know is where did the second come from?,” he said. “The commissioner needs to review that. That’s our win. Time is gone. They ran out of time.”
There’s no denying that the Bears benefited from the Chubb miss, which the NFL tepidly defended by calling it ‘a judgement call.’ There’s also no denying that they had their own share of trouble with bad calls – most notably on this QB pressure from Eddie Goldman:
And this hit courtesy of Leondard Floyd:
The penalty for Unnecessary Roughness against Leonard Floyd (Bears) is ridiculous. This is no foul play stopping Rookie TE Noah Fant (Broncos).#Bears100 #CHIvsDEN #ranNFL #ENDZN pic.twitter.com/af3biTY9oR— René Bugner (Rainbowcave) (@RNBWCV) September 15, 2019
After the game, both seemed at a loss regarding how to avoid those types of calls in the future; Floyd never even got clarification.
“They haven’t explained it yet,” he said. “I didn’t realize it would be a penalty. That’s my bad.”
“Sometimes those [calls] can get into that subjectiveness there of how it is, and when they're landing on guys, they're looking for that little extra oomph,” Matt Nagy said on Monday. “So, it's not an easy job by any means for them to see that. I know it's something that they're going to be looking at because it is difficult when you're a D-lineman, or whoever you are, tackling him.”
Through two games, it hasn’t been the number of penalties they’ve had, but the yardage they’ve lost that’s hurt them the most. The Bears have been flagged 17 this season – tied for 4th-most in football – though 11 NFL teams already have at least 17, so that’s not as bad as it sounds. What is a bit more concerning, though, is how only two teams (Minnesota, Cleveland) have had more yards taken away through flags than the Bears (176).
“That’s football, man,” Akiem Hicks said. “You’re going to get good calls, you’re going to get those calls, you’re going to do whatever you have to do to come out on the right side. You can’t let that stuff slow you down.”
So then how, as a diving 300-pound lineman, do you manage to avoid showing that ‘extra oomph’ when literal physics are working against you? Is there some secret solution?
“Yeah,” deadpanned Eddie Goldman, “not [landing] on him.”