A trio of tough calls helped turn a potential win for the Chargers on Sunday night into a loss. After the game, however, San Diego coach Norv Turner wasn’t inclined to complain about the officials.
As to the roughing the passer call on linebacker Melvin Ingram, which wiped out an interception return for a touchdown that would have put the Chargers up by 17 points late in the third quarter. Turner didn’t gripe about the flag thrown on Ingram for putting his helmet on Drew Brees‘ chin.
“I think that it’s pretty clear that the league has done an awful lot to make sure that quarterbacks are protected,” Turner said Monday. “They do get in very vulnerable situations. You can’t hit a quarterback with the crown of your helmet. If you lead with the crown, you’re probably going to get penalized.”
And you’re definitely going to get fined, as Ingram soon will learn.
Far more questionable were a pair of calls that wiped out big plays on a late drive that could have tied the game and forced overtime. Even though it looked like tight end Antonio Gates didn’t commit offensive pass interference and, on the next snap, center Nick Hardwick didn’t commit holding, Turner opted to take the high road.
“I think that the preseason and the first three games of the season showed everyone who follows football how hard it is to officiate a National Football League game,” Turner said. “And I have great respect for our officials, what they do and how hard their job is. There are some tight calls and there are some bang-bang calls. There are some calls that go your way and there are some calls that don’t go your way. We had some that didn’t go our way. Hopefully in the future we have some that do go our way.”
Kudos to Turner for not saying what everyone else was thinking — that the officials blew both calls. Then again, when everyone else is thinking it, there’s no reason to say it. Especially when saying it could get a guy fined.
Still, we had to say something during the weekly Pro Football Talk segment with NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos, and the late calls against the Chargers were one of the three topics that Erik Kuselias and I addressed with Jim.