During Saturday’s divisional round, NFL officials inconsistently applied the rules and ended up missing a major roughing the passer call. The 2022 season seems to have been a breaking point for NFL officiating.
Put simply, it’s been bad, inconsistent, and frustrating. All too often, officials are either calling bogus penalties or not applying the rules consistently across the same game. These errors were on unfortunately display during the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs divisional game on Saturday.
In the third quarter, the Jaguars had the ball down by seven points when a Chiefs’ defender, Khalen Saunders, rushed through the offensive untouched and delivered what appeared to be a horribly illegal blow to Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The ball fell incomplete and a roughing the passer penalty was not called on the play.
The missed call can be seen here:
However, on a very similar play, the NFL officials decided that they would correctly apply the rules. Chad Henne took a similar hit that was flagged for roughing the passer. The still shot from that play can be seen here:
You could make the argument that the hit on Chad Kenne on the right side of this picture was more legal than the hit that Lawrence took, so why did the NFL officials call a roughing the passer on Arden Key and not Saunders?
It’s especially frustrating considering this was a playoff game and was very close. The inconsistent application of various rules by the officials has become part of the game, unfortunately.
I get that these are bang-bang plays, but the referees are trained for a reason. Missing calls like this during a playoff game are inexcusable, and it’s worrisome that they have not fixed this issue.
The Chiefs would go on to win this game by a touchdown. The Jaguars fought hard, and perhaps should not have even been playing in this game if it wasn’t for their historic comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers.