Bears' Jaylon Johnson: Flag that erased Jack Sanborn INT was 'clean play'

Johnson: Flag that erased Sanborn INT was 'clean play' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

For the second week in a row, the Bears got burned by a bad call.

After an erroneous defensive pass interference called against Eddie Jackson and a missed defensive pass interference committed against Chase Claypool hurt the team’s chances against the Dolphins in Week 9, the Bears were on the wrong end of an incorrect illegal hands to the face penalty called against Jaylon Johnson in Week 10’s game against the Lions. What made Johnson’s penalty even worse was that it wiped away a Jack Sanborn interception, and one play later the Lions scored a touchdown.

In the moment, it appeared Johnson jammed wide receiver Trinity Benson in the upper chest. But Benson hurt his leg on the play and fell to the ground. Refs saw it and threw the flag.

On Wednesday, Johnson said he believed the Bears included that snap in the set of plays the team sends to the league office every week for further review. Johnson said he believed the Bears received an apology back from the league for the flag.

“I feel like it was more teach tape than anything,” Johnson said when asked if there were any coaching points for him on the play. “Like you definitely coach others to do what I did. I felt like it was a clean play. Didn’t mean to hurt him in any way, shape or form, but just wanted to be aggressive. Thought my hand placement was good, but things like that happen all the time.”

Johnson also wanted to squash any talk that Benson flopped on the play to draw the flag.

“He hurt his leg,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure if I really would have put him down if his leg wasn’t hurt… hope he’s doing alright.”

Jackson called for increased accountability for NFL referees after the Dolphins game, and now has another example for why it could be a good idea. Matt Eberflus didn’t want to weigh in when asked for his opinion on the matter.

“I don’t think that’s really my question to answer,” Eberflus said. “I think that I'm here to coach the team. But I would say this. There are things in the game that happen. We as players and coaches have to overcome adversity. Adversity comes in many ways as I said (Sunday). You as a football team have to look at each other and say, ‘OK, that’s that. Now let’s move forward and let’s overcome this adversity through execution.’ At the end of the day, it’s seven minutes, we were leading and we should’ve closed the deal. We’ve got to get that done.”

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