Week 4: Packers at Bears (video at 2:30)
Early in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Bears’ game hopes were hanging by a thread. The defense had held the Packers in the red zone forcing a field goal attempt. The field goal was good, however side judge James Coleman threw a flag. The Bears were flagged for defensive holding, giving the Packers a new series of downs. Aaron Rodgers and company cashed in with a touchdown on the next play, and the game was out of reach.
Bears fans howled with outrage and in the Quick Calls live blog I called the flag “marginal” — a polite way to say I didn’t agree with the flag. I thought the flag was hypertechnical. Well, it turns out the flag was hypertechnical — and a 100% correct call the way the league wants called.
In football vernacular, Bears defensive lineman Jonathan Bostic was called for a “pull and shoot.” In other words, Bostic pulled the Packers’ offensive lineman off balance, allowing the Bears’ Ryan Mundy to shoot the gap and try to block the field goal. This is against the rules, and the foul is defensive holding.
During the game, Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira tweeted that he called the NFL officiating office, and the initial word was that the league supported the call. The call got even more support on Monday from Patrick Mannelly, a former Chicago Bears long-snapper and now sports talk show host on WSCR-AM in Chicago. Mannelly said players are warned not to attempt this maneuver as the umpire and the side judge are right behind the defensive line, in tight, looking for defensive holding. Mannelly further stated that Bostic’s hold happened right in front of side judge. While it was a very technical call and the hold wasn’t a blatant take-down, Mannelly commented that it was a rules violation, players were warned not to try it and Bostic tried it right under the Coleman’s nose. Coleman had no choice but to throw the flag.
So, while Bears’ fans protested the call, the flag from Coleman was supported by not only the NFL, but also a former home-team lineman.
Image: Fox Sports/NFL