Well before Houston’s blowout defeat to Baltimore on Sunday was in hand, before Lamar Jackson ran through and threw over the Texans defense, Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense were looking to take a lead over their hosts.
Tied at zeroes in the first quarter, Houston went for it on fourth-and-2 from Baltimore’s 33-yard line. Watson took a shotgun snap and, after buying time, launched a deep ball toward DeAndre Hopkins near the right pylon. Hopkins might’ve come down with the ball, which was sailing of bounds, if not for blanket coverage from Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who appeared to make contact with Hopkins a beat before the ball fell to earth.
No pass interference call was made by the officiating crew and, after a challenge by Texans coach Bill O’Brien, the call stood.
Following Houston’s 41-7 loss, the Texans skipper expressed dismay at the non-call and the state of pass interference, in general.
"I don’t know," O’Brien sighed to reporters when asked about the call after the game. "I have no idea. I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. No idea."
Hopkins, who finished with seven catches for 80 yards, took his unhappiness with the ruling to Twitter.
Though the play happened very early in the contest and did not directly lead to a Ravens score, the non-call was a major missed opportunity for Houston to take an early lead against a Baltimore offense that proved to be unstoppable later in the game.
The Texans would never get as close to the red zone as they did on that play; Houston didn’t run a single play inside Baltimore’s 25-yard line all game.
The non-call was yet another example of the NFL not using the replay review system to overturn pass interference calls. Heading into Week 11, only five of the 54 pass interference calls challenged by teams had been reversed, and only 10 of 65 PI calls reviewed in total had been reversed.
Allowing pass interference to be challengeable for the 2019 season following the NFC Championship Game debacle was supposed to eliminate egregious calls on the field. Instead, it has only made the football world’s understanding of what is and isn’t PI all the more muddled, with Sunday afternoon’s non-call in Baltimore the latest example.
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