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Tony Corrente leaned into Cassius Marsh before throwing controversial taunting flag

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Mike Florio and Charean Williams run through their biggest surprises from an NFL Sunday full of them, from the Broncos beating the brakes off of Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to the Jaguars upsetting the Bills.

If you thought the taunting call on Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh was weird, another element of the broader incident was even weirder.

Marsh, flagged for taunting the sideline and/or Pittsburgh’s punter after a key fourth-quarter sack of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, jogged past referee Tony Corrente, before the flag was thrown. Corrente, as noted by Will Brinson of CBSSports.com, leaned into Marsh, creating contact between player and referee. Corrente then made a big deal out of throwing his flag straight into the sky.

While it’s entirely possible that Marsh’s behavior crossed the get-off-my-lawn line that the NFL has drawn between permissible celebration and prohibited in-your-face antics, Corrente’s behavior seems very odd.

And because referees don’t have to conduct press conferences after games (in some situations, the league allows one reporters to question the referee), Corrente likely will never have to publicly explain what in the hell he was doing. Privately, that may be a different story. Someone at 345 Park Avenue undoubtedly will (or at least should) play the video for Corrente and ask him to explain himself.