Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians broke one of the NFL’s biggest sins Sunday. Following the Bucs’ 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Arians lit into NFL officials for multiple missed calls. At one point, Arians called their decisions “baffling.”
There were two plays that drew Arians’ ire during the contest. The first came on a forced fumble by the Buccaneers. With 8:34 left in the first quarter, the Bucs punted to returner Deonte Harris, who fumbled and Bucs tight end Anthony Auclair came out of the pile with the ball. The refs called it a muffed punt, but said Harris recovered.
Arians challenged that play. After review, the officials couldn’t determine a clear recovery by Tampa Bay. Footage apparently showed Auclair clearly gaining possession.
Arians said the refs “blew the call.”
Arians on review and no reversal on challenge with fumbled punt return: "They blew the call. Simple. … Clear recovery on the fumble. The kid ran out of the pile with it, and they knew it before they went to replay. It's all coming from New York."— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 6, 2019
Arians’ second gripe with the officials came on another challenge. The play in question happened at the start of the third quarter. Saints receiver Michael Thomas broke free for a 42-yard gain. Arians believed there was offensive pass interference on the play and threw a challenge flag.
After review, the refs declined to call a foul on Thomas.
Bruce Arians on no-call on offensive pass interference, even after review: "If that's not, I don't know what the hell is. A two-handed shove that knocked the guy backwards. They said they were hand-fighting. Yeah they were hand-fighting, but that doesn't knock the guy backwards."— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 6, 2019
Arians said the decisions on both challenge plays were “baffling.”
Arians probably knows his words will come with a cost. The NFL doesn’t take kindly to coaches calling out refs. The league has fined a few of them for that type of behavior. Following a win in 2018, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin received a $25,000 fine for criticizing the refs.
Had either of those calls been reversed, the Bucs might have pulled out a win. Arians will have to deal with that as well as a fine while he prepares to get the Bucs back on track against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6.
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