The first pass interference challenge in regular season history came in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game between the Packers and Bears in Chicago.
After a 15-yard catch by Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, Packers coach Matt LaFleur threw the red flag and told officials he believed that Gabriel pushed cornerback Jaire Alexander while breaking toward the ball. While there was some contact between the players, there wasn’t much to suggest that the on-field officials had missed a clear and obvious case of interference and it didn’t take long for the call to be upheld upon review.
LaFleur could be seen berating himself on the sideline and continued his self-criticism after the game.
“I was pretty upset with myself,” LaFleur said, via Michael Silver of NFL Media. “I saw the play live and felt like he pushed off, but it’s got to be clear and obvious for them to overturn it — and clearly, it wasn’t clear and obvious enough. I felt pretty sick. That was a big play. It could have hurt us. But thankfully, our defense bailed us out.”
The Bears also helped bail the Packers out. Left tackle Charles Leno was penalized on the next two plays and Gabriel was flagged for a much more obvious offensive pass interference a play after that to give the Bears a first-and-40 from their own 27-yard-line.
That led to a punt that was followed by a Packers field goal and an interception that made LaFleur’s bad decision a footnote in his head coaching debut.