Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) forces a fumble from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) as linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) goes for the ball during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium.

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

NFL says roughing penalty on Myles Garrett shouldn't have been called

Flag cost Browns touchdown instead of a Steelers field goal try

September 11, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The officials got it wrong.

Words you don’t often hear in any sports, and especially the NFL but that’s what came out Monday evening concerning a roughing the passer penalty against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett in the second quarter of Sunday’s 21-21 tie.

This year the league has emphasized calling defensive players for putting their weight on the quarterback, which was what drew the flag against Garrett.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, told NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero that Garrett should not have been penalized.

"The rule specifically says 'most, if not all, of your body weight,' " Riveron told Pelissero. "So we want that player to make an effort. And the last three or four weeks, we have pulled extensive video to show the clubs exactly what we're talking about, and we probably last week showed 5 to 1 or 6 to 1 of legal hits, or legal contact, as opposed to illegal contact. Because the question we get all the time is, well, what do you want our players to do?

"Well, they have to not put the weight on the quarterback. And this one (on Garrett) yesterday showed, even though there is some body weight on Ben (Roethlisberger), this is not what we would consider contact that rises to the level of a foul."

Garrett was flagged for taking down and landing on Roethlisberger with 11:28 left in the second quarter on third-and-7 at the Cleveland 8 as Roethlisberger scrambled and threw the ball out of the back of the end zone.

“Honestly, I thought that was a perfectly legal hit,” Garrett said. “When I hit him, I just had momentum, so of course he went down pretty quick, but I don't know what is a proper way to take him down. I'm going to need some evidence or them to demonstrate for me themselves.”

Browns head coach Hue Jackson was visibly furious when the call was made.

“I complained half of the game,” Jackson said after the game regarding his frustrations with the officiating Sunday. “There were some other calls that I did not like neither. It is what it is. It is a tie game, so I have to watch the tape. There were quite a few times I talked to the officials about things I saw and calls that they made. The call on Myles Garrett, I do not get that.”

Anyone that has watched Roethlisberger over the years knows how difficult it is to bring him down and he has made a career out of his ability to escape hits and extend plays.

Jackson was not satisfied with the explanation he received at the time either.

“They said that it was roughing the passer. That led to a touchdown,” Jackson said. “It is all of these things. We talk about the rules probably more than any team in the league. We show tape. We do all of that, but obviously, we are not understanding to the degree that we need to in order for it not to hurt us, and that is disappointing.”

Instead of the Steelers kicking a 25-yard field goal, the ball was moved to the 4 with a fresh set of downs.

"I don't know how from that angle I can hit him and put him into the ground,” Garrett said. “So you don't want to tackle him, you kind of just have to tackle him into the ground. So you don't you put your body weight or almost all your body weight into him, so I have to torque myself out of the way.”

On the next play, James Conner ran in from 4 yards out for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

In the fourth quarter Garrett strip-sacked Roethlisberger and stripped Conner to fuel Cleveland’s 14-point fourth quarter rally in the final 8 minutes to ultimately force the tie.