The Washington Commanders have been on the wrong end of an officiating blunder in each of the last two weeks. While neither call lost Washington a game, they were so egregious that the former head of NFL officiating, now a FOX Sports rules analyst, said the league got it wrong on both penalties.
First, officials called rookie defensive end K.J. Henry for roughing the passer in the Week 9 win over the Patriots. Not only was it a terrible call, but it also put the struggling Patriots in field-goal position, giving them a free three points. Henry had sacked New England QB Mac Jones on the play and forced a turnover.
Last week, in the first quarter against the Seahawks, officials flagged rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes for unnecessary roughness. It was the correct call, but what happened afterward was a travesty of justice. After huddling, officials tossed Forbes out of the game.
Head coach Ron Rivera was upset over the decision to remove Forbes. On Thursday, Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio weighed in, and he looked at it from another perspective.
“The penalty I understood,” Del Rio said. It was deserving of a penalty. But the ejection, for a first-time offense, on play six or whatever it was of the game, that was shocking.”
By the rulebook, the officials got it right, flagging Forbes for the 15-yard penalty. Del Rio, like everyone else, took issue with his removal from the game, especially considering it didn’t come from the game officials.
“The fact that he wasn’t ejected by the officials on the field, he was ejected by somebody sitting in an air-conditioned room in New York, that’s troubling,” Del Rio said. “I think that’s troubling for the league, but they’re going to have to work that out. But that’s not a good look. I don’t think that’s healthy for the league to have those types of things happen. Emmanuel — young player, good player; he’s not a guy that’s like notoriously known for like headhunting people or stuff like that. I did not think it was warranted; wasn’t my call, obviously.”
Del Rio is correct on all fronts. The mere fact that league officials in New York, who are sitting in front of multiple monitors with the best views and the benefit of slow motion, chose to kick Forbes out of the game.
That is a problem.
Del Rio said he’d never seen or heard of the league offices kicking a player out during a game.