Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Bills quarterback Josh Allen during the third quarter of the Patriots vs. Bills game on “Monday Night Football.” Several objective observers disagreed with this penalty.
Allen was attempting to run in for a first down, and Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley appeared to cause Allen to lose his balance. Allen then began to leap out of bounds; while he was in the air, Bryant nudged him further out of bounds. In the replay video, it appears that Allen was still in the field of play when Bryant pushed him. However, officials called an unnecessary roughness penalty on Bryant.
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The penalty gave the Bills an automatic first down and a gain of 15 yards. This drive ended in a field goal, putting the score at 11-10 with the Patriots still ahead.
Viewers were shocked with the referees’ call, including Manningcast guest Aqib Talib. He outwardly admitted to disagreeing with the call while speaking with Peyton and Eli Manning on their ESPN2 broadcast.
“That’s not a flag right there,” Talib said during the broadcast. “You don’t want to waste 15 yards on no push, though. You got to make that 15-yard flag worth it.”
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The NFL’s official rulebook, however, explains that the referees called unnecessary roughness because that’s what they’re supposed to do when in doubt. In the rulebook section about “forcibly contacting a runner when he is out of bounds,” the rulebook states that “defensive players must make an effort to avoid contact. Players on defense are responsible for knowing when a runner has crossed the boundary line, except in doubtful cases where he might step on a boundary line and continue parallel with it.”
An additional note on this rule states, “When in question about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactics, the covering official(s) should always call unnecessary roughness.”
Even with the official rules, fans still expressed their frustration for the penalty through tweets. Here’s a few reactions to the call on Monday night.
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That p/f on Myles Bryant for pushing Josh Allen out of bounds was way beyond the boundaries of a “bad call.”
It was caricature-like a movie spoofing the inane stupidity of the NFL. Play football hard. But near the sidelines it becomes tiddlywinks on glass tables. Randomly called
— NFL Strategy (@NFL_Strategy) December 7, 2021
Bogus call on Myles Bryant. Totally bogus.
— Trey Daerr (@TreyDaerr) December 7, 2021
Myles Bryant just gotta a personal foul penalty for pushing Josh Allen while in bounds. I suppose he should’ve just watched him get the first down
— Dan Shea (@DanShea775) December 7, 2021
Pretty weak penalty call against Myles Bryant. Barely touched Allen
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 7, 2021