After Further Review: Jets/Dolphins Officiating

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.

Penalty Count

Dolphins 6-51 (leading to one Jets first down)
Jets 10-105 (leading to three Dolphins first downs)

Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage

  • False start on Alex Lewis. Not clear from broadcast footage.
  • Roughing the passer on Christian Wilkins. This play went for a touchdown anyway, but Wilkins did shove Sam Darnold to the ground a beat after he released the ball and could easily have avoided doing so.
  • Holding on Chris Reed. Reed, the extra tight end, ran to the second level and threw Harvey Langi to the ground. Probably a good call and the Dolphins were also flagged for an illegal formation on the same play anyway.
  • Chuma Edoga illegal use of hands penalty to negate 17-yard completion to Vyncint Smith. Clear call here, as he basically grabbed the facemask and was arguably lucky to be penalized 10 yards and not 15.
  • Too many men on the field against Miami.
  • Darryl Roberts illegal use of the hands call. Roberts tried to get an early strike in but went straight to the side of the helmet which is going to be called every time (except when it happens to a Jets receiver).
  • Roberts pass interference call for a 25-yard penalty on 3rd-and-long. No arguments here - Roberts was hugging the receiver and not looking at the ball while it was still on the way.
  • J'Marcus Webb called for holding on Nathan Shepherd. Seemed like a fair call as Shepherd fought off the block to the inside and Webb grabbed him from behind to prevent him from completing the sack.
  • Defensive holding on Nik Needham. Clear call here as he grabs Smith more than five yards downfield and drags him down.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

  • Running into the kicker on Ty Montgomery. First of all, this was an incredible punt by Matt Haack. 57 yards, under heavy pressure and with no return. The penalty itself would definitely have been roughing the kicker and a first down under the old rules as Montgomery narrowly missed blocking the ball and clattered into the punter as he landed. Under the current emphasis, the NFL seems to usually call those as running into the kicker so just a five-yard penalty. Even so, this easily could have been a roughing call.
  • Holding on Alex Lewis. Lewis made the initial block but his hand slipped off and went to the outside as the defensive tackle tried to fight off it. That's an automatic call even though he basically let go immediately so there was no hold. This is one of the biggest issues the Jets have had with Le'Veon Bell and his hesitant style.
  • False start on Edoga. This one seems kinda harsh. If anything maybe Jonotthan Harrison did a head-bob before snapping the ball but Edoga seemed to move as the ball was being snapped. Not a great way to start a drive.
  • Robby Anderson called for offensive pass interference. Awful call and made all the worse by the fact the replay booth upheld it. Anderson pancaked his man before the ball was caught but that's okay because he was clearly within a yard of the line of scrimmage. While the NFL has proven reluctant to overturn any interference calls apart from the most obvious ones, this could not have been clearer.
  • Sam Darnold illegal forward pass to negate 16-yard completion to Anderson. In real time this looked blatant as Darnold was clearly over the line. However, if he kept his back foot on the line of scrimmage, it actually would have still been legitimate. Actually, this was pretty close as he was only a few inches past the line. However, it was the correct call.
  • Kyle Phillips late hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick. This is going to get called every time, but it's another version of what we like to call an "illegal use of gravity" penalty. Phillips was hustling after Fitzpatrick, who suddenly went into a slide and there was little chance for Phillips to avoid landing on him without doing a cartwheel or something.
  • Brian Winters holding call. Miami caused constant issues with stunts and here was another as Winters came off his initial assignment late and had to reach across the end to prevent him from getting to Darnold. Had the stunt been picked up cleanly, this would have been an easy 69-yard Robby Anderson touchdown, but Darnold had to get rid of it a beat too early.
  • Arthur Maulet fair catch interference. While the flags came in late, this was an obvious call as Maulet arrived and made contact with the punt returner before the ball. He made a good play to beat his man but it was poor timing. Had he timed it better, then maybe the muff would still have happened with the pressure in Preston Williams' face, but of course the Jets didn't recover it anyway.
  • DeVante Parker offensive pass interference call to negate a 28-yard play. The replay booth upheld this one, which seemed correct because Parker initiated the contact and, despite what the announcers said, pushed off on Roberts. However, this is a call the receiver often gets away with and the replay booth likely would have upheld a no-call too.

Notable no-calls

Perhaps the biggest play in this game was the Ryan Griffin non-touchdown. Initially called a catch, the replay booth overturned it and then on 2nd-and-goal from the two, the Jets threw an interception. In the end, it arguably didn't matter than much as the Jets still got a safety and a field goal in the last minute, but it didn't do much for Darnold's confidence.

This is one where you can see why they overturned it. Griffin made a clean catch but is going to ground so he has to maintain control. He has to readjust his grip on the ball, but did he ever lose control? Probably, but the receiver usually gets the benefit of the doubt under the current rules. Not this time, though.

There were a few no-calls that benefited the Jets though. Nate Hairston was all over the receiver downfield on a deep ball but didn't draw a flag, Vyncint Smith's long kick-off return could easily have been called back due to a Daniel Brown block in the back and Marcus Maye got away with a late hit out of bounds. The Jamison Crowder touchdown could have been called as a rub route on Demaryius Thomas too. The replay booth negated another Griffin touchdown in the season opener on a similar play, albeit that we disputed this interpretation at that time.

Otherwise, there were a few possible holds or coverage penalties by Miami, who had a low penalty count throughout, but nothing too egregious that you would say changed the outcome.