This season, we're going to have a post after each game that breaks down some of the controversial decisions from the officiating crew in the game.
Bengals 2-15 (leading to no Jets first downs)
Jets 10-106 (leading to one Bengals first down)
Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage
- Darryl Roberts called for holding on a kickoff return, so the Jets had to start their drive from inside their 10. This was well away from the ball and not visible on broadcast footage.
- Kelvin Beachum illegal block in the back to negate Bilal Powell's 23-yard catch and run. This was a clear two-handed shove and, it appeared, wasn't necessary. This negated the only time the Jets got inside the Bengals red zone all day.
- Neville Hewitt defensive pass interference for 39 yards down to the five to set up a touchdown. Automatic call when the defensive player doesn't look back to the ball and the receiver can't make a play on it, even when contact is minimal or initiated by the receiver.
- Tom Compton false start. Clearly flinched before the snap.
- Bengals delay of game. Deliberately let the clock run out after failing to get the Jets to jump offside on 4th-and-2.
- Brandon Shell false start. Jumped too early.
Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation
- Ryan Griffin holding on a kick-off return to again force the Jets to start inside their 10-yard line. The officials didn't call a number on this play but the official gamebook credited the penalty to Griffin. If it was on him, it appeared to be both harsh and unnecessary.
- Auden Tate illegal block in the back on Kyle Phillips to negate a big gain by Joe Mixon. This was arguably a weak call as he initially started blocking him from the side, although he did give a big shove to Phillps' back as he turned away from him, but, other than the deliberate delay of game, it was the only penalty called on the Bengals all day. Justice was arguably done though, because a pulling John Miller did appear to commit a block in the back penalty on James Burgess on the same play. While it's always possible they just called the wrong guy's number, this doesn't look like it was the case. They just missed one call and then erroneously (perhaps) made the same call on someone else.
- Holding by Compton to negate Le'Veon Bell's longest run of the season on 3rd-and-14. This was a turning point because it would have moved the Jets into Bengals' territory with some momentum down 11 in the third quarter. As the announcers noted, Compton made a cut block but was perhaps called for wrapping his arm around the defender's leg as he took him down. Looking at the replay, it doesn't look like that was his intention and he may have just been really unlucky with the way the he fell giving that appearance. Either way it did not affect the play, so it was unfortunate.
- Beachum holding in the end zone for a Bengals safety. This looked innocuous at first, because Beachum seemed to have his man under control. However, even though Beachum didn't like the call, it was definitely right because he reached across his man with his arm across his chest and a handful of jersey. Unfortunately, the ball was gone before the hold occurred so Beachum could have let go and the play would have been unaffected.
- Beachum holding penalty in the fourth quarter. He didn't like this call either, but it was somewhat similar. This time it was a running play and his man got inside leverage and Beachum reached across him. However, he let go almost immediately and this was arguably a little harsh.
- Jonotthan Harrison holding penalty in the fourth quarter. This was a blown protection up-front and Harrison had to try and recover to ride the interior rusher out of the play up the field. He succeeded in doing this, but despite his best efforts to keep his hands inside, it looked like he had to reach outside to slow his man up. Sam Darnold was sacked anyway as he stepped up.
A strange game saw the referees seemingly reluctant to flag anything apart from holding against the Jets which they called six times. All of those calls came under the category of being the sort of things you often see called but at the same time you sometimes see blockers get away with them.
It's rare to see a game with so few coverage penalties - Hewitt's pass interference was the only one called - and no illegal hits or roughing calls. With that said, there weren't really any significant obvious missed calls that stood out. The Jets' linemen and receivers will assuredly say that they were held at some point and didn't get a call though.
There maybe should have been an illegal hands to the face call on Quinnen Williams at one point and a penalty on Harvey Langi for knocking down the punter, but it seemed to be a mostly clean game from the Bengals.
There were also no replay reviews and any plays that might have been challenged, including a couple of low Robby Anderson catches and a few Bengals passes where the receiver got his feet inbounds on one but not the other, were clear enough not to warrant another look.