Saints coach Sean Payton says he sought an explanation and was told that Harper “continued contact,” but that doesn’t make any sense. To the extent that Harper continued contact with Cutler after Cutler threw the ball on the play in question, Harper seemed to be trying to hold Cutler up.
Just about everyone who saw the penalty agrees that Harper did nothing wrong. Joe Buck called it a terrible call on the FOX broadcast, while David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune noted that the officials were inconsistent on how they called roughing the passer.
Big surprise there.
The call against Harper kept a Bears drive alive after a third-down stop and led to Chicago’s only touchdown, although the Saints weren’t complaining too much after the game because they still won 30-13. But even though this particular bad call didn’t hurt the Saints, it’s just a matter of time before we see one of these bad roughing the passer calls becoming the difference between a team winning and losing.
Unless, you know, the refs stop making bad calls.