The referees decided the outcome of the game in favor of the Rams on Tuesday. I don’t like to say this, as I think it’s often an excuse used by fans whose team lost fairly, but it’s appropriate given how unfairly the Seahawks lost Tuesday night.
Shawn Hochuli’s crew, which already came in as the most flag-happy group in the NFL, made completely indefensible calls all night, nearly all of which broke in favor of the Rams. There were two calls in particular, though, that had Seahawks fans and Fox’s officiating expert/rules analyst Dean Blandino shaking their heads.
These calls came in the 4th quarter, and both had a drastic influence on the outcome. The first of these calls was a holding against Bless Austin which Dean Blandino disagreed with. Austin made contact with Cooper Kupp within five yards of the line of scrimmage and at no point grabbed hold of his jersey. Instead of a 4th down and certain punt, the Rams were gifted a first down, at which point they marched right down the field and scored a touchdown.
Game-changing defensive holding call on Seattle that negates a stop on 3rd & 12 and leads to a Rams touchdown.— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) December 22, 2021
I don't know about this one pic.twitter.com/b2C2rSdD1l
This reminded me a lot of the garbage unnecessary roughness that got called on KJ Wright last year in Arizona. Same situation, opponent backed up deep in their own territory. Fourth down is seemingly forced until a flag comes down for no apparent reason. Both penalties also resulted in dominating momentum-changing touchdown drives against a defeated defense. Maybe the Seahawks didn’t respond to the situation as well as they should have, but that doesn’t matter. They shouldn’t have been in that situation anyways.
Lots of the time, criticism of the officials is a bit overboard. But in this case, it is absolutely warranted. If officials decide the game on an iffy call where both teams were given the chance to win, fine. That happens. But the Seahawks were blocked at every turn by an officiating crew that seemed hell-bent on stifling any shot the Seahawks were to have in the second half.
Secondly, I’ll touch on a call that is still to fresh in my memory to discuss properly, but which I’m sure you all saw live and is displayed prominently at the top of this article. Genuinely have no words for that. Just feel bad for New Orleans Saints fans who watched that play. Flashbacks.
Now here’s the pass interference that wasn’t called that ended up getting DeeJay Dallas flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
You'll never see a more obvious pass interference than this.— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) December 22, 2021
No call. pic.twitter.com/ZlwzaJbZfg
Of course, the math with all of this stuff is shaky; if the plays are called right, 10 points are taken off of the board for LA, but that just means there would have been new and different plays that would decide the outcome, not necessarily that the score would be 10-10. However, players deserve the chance to determine that outcome, regardless of win or lose. And the Seahawks were certainly denied that chance Tuesday night.