KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs came back to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders 30-29 on Monday Night Football, but one of the biggest story lines from the game came in the second quarter after Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones forced a fumble on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
With just over a minute left in the half, Jones made the play on Carr on a third-and-long in what would have swung the momentum and given the Chiefs a chance to score before the end of the half and cut the deficit.
Jones’ grabbed the ball as he took Carr to the ground and appeared to brace his landing with his left arm to avoid putting his full body weight on Carr and avoid a flag.
However, the officials did not see it this way and threw a yellow flag for “roughing the passer.”
Referee Carl Cheffers, who began his NFL officiating career in 2000, defended his call after the game and said that video replay was not used.
The quarterback is in the pocket and he’s in a passing posture. He gets full protection of all the aspects of what we give the quarterback in a passing posture. So, when he was tackled, my ruling was the defender landed on him with full body weight. The quarterback is protected from being tackled with full body weight. My ruling was roughing the passer for that reason.Carl Cheffers
“Chris Jones just became the first player in NFL history called for roughing the passer while holding the ball,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said.
Despite the Carr fumbling, Cheffers said he still maintains passing protection.
He still gets passing protection until he can defend himself. So, with him being a passing posture and actually attempting to make a pass, he’s going to get full protection until the time when he actually can protect himself. The fact that the ball came out and was subsequently recovered by the defense is not relevant as far as the protection the quarterback gets.Carl Cheffers
Cheffers added that the fumble is the same as if Carr had thrown the ball. It is a loose ball and the quarterback is still afforded protection.
The controversial call comes one day after Atlanta Falcons DT Grady Jarrett was controversially called for roughing the passer on Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.
Jerome Boger, the referee for Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta, also defended his call after that game saying Jarrett “unnecessarily” threw Brady to the ground.
The call came on a crucial third down stop with less than three minutes in the game that would have given the Falcons an opportunity to score and potentially win.
These two specific calls, among others, have raised the question about whether it is a response to the situation with Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa who is the subject of concussion conversations due to two big hits he two in less than five days.
Boger was asked if that was the case and said: “No, not necessarily.“