Coming off a surprising win at Denver, the Falcons nearly pulled off a stunning double-dip, barely losing Sunday at Seattle, arguably the NFL’s toughest road venue. But while Atlanta earned some more respect for making the Seahawks sweat out a win, they were irate over the lack of a pass-interference call on their final offensive play.
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.
Um, that's interference.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 16, 2016
That was a horrible non call at a crucial part of the game!
— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) October 16, 2016
Falcons got robbed. Richard Sherman is committing pass interference, BLATANTLY holding Julio's right arm. https://t.co/cgmNuAAyRg
— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) October 17, 2016
Richard Sherman got away w/ a HUGE pass interference. Right arm completely locked over Julio Jones. NFL apology coming to ATL. #seahawks
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) October 16, 2016
Egregious miss on Sherman DPI, grabbing Julio’s arm and preventing him from making the catch. Quinn had a right to be livid.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) October 16, 2016
Even hip-hop luminary, and noted Atlanta native, Big Boi chimed in with his outrage.
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) October 16, 2016
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.