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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Soft Roughing The Passer Call Helps Deprive World Of Elite Joe Flacco Moment

Illustration for article titled Soft Roughing The Passer Call Helps Deprive World Of Elite Joe Flacco Moment
Photo: Dustin Bradford (Getty Images)

On the Broncos’ final drive of the game, Joe Flacco finally looked like the elite quarterback that John Elway thought he was when the Denver GM signed the ex-Raven this offseason. After leading his team 50 yards down the field, Flacco faced a 4th-and-3 on the Bears’ 12-yard line. The quarterback then mentally reverted back to his 2012 season with Baltimore and—on back-to-back plays—converted the first down, and then found wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown, putting the Broncos within one with 31 seconds left.

The eliteness continued when, on a two-point conversation attempt delayed by penalties, Flacco once again found Sanders in the end zone to give Denver the lead with 31 seconds left.

But game wasn’t done. It was up to Mitchell Trubisky—who, up until that point, had looked just as bad, if not worse, than Flacco did—to get his team at least into field-goal position for a chance to win. His first pass picked up a measly five yards, but the Chicago quarterback got an extra 10 seconds thanks to an incredibly soft call against Bradley Chubb. It was bad enough that it got me to agree with Mr. Man 101 himself, Mark Schlereth.

(It’s at this point where I should note that Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman also got hit with an unconvincing roughing the passer call himself, but only one of these calls resulted in a game-winner.)


That boost was all Trubisky needed to complete a pass down the field to put Chicago kicker Eddy Pineiro in position to kick a game winner. There was no double-doink this time, as the ball sailed through the uprights.

Feel free to get pedantic about other penalties I failed to mention in the comments.