Facing fourth and 10 from his own 25-yard line, and with just 1:39 left in the game, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan heaved the ball downfield to his all-pro wide receiver, Julio Jones. It looked like Jones might be able to reel the ball in amid double coverage, but he couldn’t corral it with his left arm.
But wait, why was Jones reaching for the ball with just one arm? Well, replay shows that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had the receiver’s right arm locked in such a way that Jones was not only unable to get both hands to the ball, he was impeded from going airborne in pursuit of it.
No penalty was called, however, and Seattle was able to take possession and use three kneel-downs to win the game, 26-24. Falcons Coach Dan Quinn watched the play unfold in real time, of course, and he chased after an official in a state of absolute fury.
Other observers agreed: The Falcons should have gotten a call there.
Even hip-hop luminary, and noted Atlanta native, Big Boi chimed in with his outrage.
It’s not a lock that, even if the penalty had been called, the Falcons would have won. The spot of the ball would have been around the Seahawks’ 37-yard line, leaving Atlanta needing more yards to avoid a lengthy field goal attempt.
But we’ll never know how that would have turned out, while we do know the non-call cost Julio Jones and Co. any remaining shot at a win. For what it’s worth, we also know that the Falcons made another great accounting of themselves Sunday, scoring three straight third-quarter touchdowns to overcome a 17-3 halftime deficit before the Seahawks staged their own comeback.
So once Quinn calms down, he can hold his head high, especially as his team still leads its division with a 4-2 record. However, NFL analyst Warren Sharp noted that Quinn had been hoist on his own petard, in a way, given that he had a large role in implementing the Seattle secondary’s physical style while serving as the team’s defensive coordinator.