I’m going to lead with this–NFL officiating has gone into the crapper over the last few years. I take every chance there is to critique bad officiating. While there were some bad calls in last night’s game, they did not lose the game for the Texans. Let’s take a look at some of the bad calls:
The first was undoubtedly the DeAndre Hopkins call. I think that they missed this call, but it was much closer than people thought. Look at the first image here: his foot was very close to the line, and I can see why an official would call it out. Keep in mind these guys are having to make these calls in real time. So while it may have been incorrect, it’s at least justifiable.
The defense stopped playing after the whistle blew, and if they hadn’t there is no guarantee that he would have scored. I’ll let this one slide.
Second, there was a play later in the first half where Braxton Miller took the ball around the right side and was tackled by Khalil Mack and rolled on top of Mack for what looked like the first down. This was worse, Miller didn’t hit the ground before rolling over the marker. That should have been a first down, bad call by the officials.
Third, we have a play in the second half where Johnathan Joseph was called for a personal foul after hitting Clive Walford after Walford made a catch. That was a clearly a penalty. Joseph left his feet and launched himself head first at Walford. The right call was made, and I’m honestly surprised Joseph wasn’t called for targeting.
The last one I will address is the fourth down run late in the game that was ruled down (you can see that in the above link). That was awful. You could clearly tell that Lamar Miller was not down before he reached across the first down line. That should have been a first down, but it wasn’t. With the replay reviews we have, that’s inexcusable.
But still, officials are not to blame for the loss
Even with all these bad calls, the officials did not lose the game. If the Texans had made adjustments and covered the Raiders running backs out of the backfield in the second half, they wouldn’t have been down in the first place.
Remember a couple years ago when the Lions lost to the Cowboys in the Wild Card Round after the atrocious non-call on the pass interference by Anthony Hitchens and missing a takedown on DeAndre Levy by Cowboys tackle Jeremy Parnell on the game winning touchdown pass? The Lions had the lead in that game but dinked and dunked the whole second half, not putting up any points. That’s why they lost. Like the Lions, the Texans had a lead and couldn’t keep it.
The other thing I don’t understand is why that laser pointer guy was never caught. It figures that with Roger Goodell looking on that he would just let something like that happen. His selectively hands off leadership and inconsistency has been tolerated long enough. He may be a good attorney, but he is out of his element running a league and the last ten years and all the debacles that have happened during his tenure prove that.
Unfortunately, as long as the league keeps putting money in the pockets of the owners they won’t have any reason to get rid of him. But even though Goodell won’t be gone anytime soon, Dean Blandino needs to go. He imposes no discipline for these officials no matter how bad they are, and he doesn’t help his officials by making the rules so complicated that they cannot keep up.
Yes, there are problems with the officials. But the blame lies on the Texans for losing this game.