Falcons’ Grady Jarrett breaks silence on controversial Tom Brady sack

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett finally broke his silence about his controversial sack of Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Tom Brady, which was ruled a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Jarrett spoke on his weekly “The Grady Jarrett Show” on Atlanta sports radio station 680-AM The Fan and said the penalty call “cost us [the Falcons] an opportunity to win the game.”

The controversial call came late in the fourth quarter of the Falcons-Buccaneers game when Atlanta had just mounted a comeback and trailed 21-15.

Earlier in the game, the Falcons trailed 21-0.

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Grady Jarrett (97) of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Tom Brady (12) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of a game at Raymond James Stadium Oct. 9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

On third down from the Atlanta 47-yard line, Jarrett tackled Brady and presumably forced a Buccaneers punt. The Falcons could have had possession of the ball with a chance to score a touchdown and win the game.

But official Jerome Booger threw a penalty flag and ruled the hit was a roughing-the-passer foul, giving the Buccaneers a fresh set of downs. The Bucs ultimately ran out the clock and won the game.

Social media erupted after the call.

“If it’s costing people games, it’s going to cost people’s livelihoods, it’s costing people opportunities,” Jarrett said during his radio appearance. “You never know who will go down and make a crazy play. When people watch it to be entertained, they love to see some game-winning drives. And then when you do it the right way, that’s what makes it so frustrating because you did follow the rules.

“And you didn’t do anything bad, so let’s get the game what the game is owed, and that’s the best product we can put on the field. That’s the thing that really drives you just a little crazy. In full speed, it may look more malicious than it really is because the refs are human as well, so let’s just take a little bit off the plate and be able to review something like that just for the defensive sake so we can get something.”

Grady Jarrett (97) of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Tom Brady (12) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of a game at Raymond James Stadium Oct.  9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Grady Jarrett (97) of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Tom Brady (12) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of a game at Raymond James Stadium Oct. 9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Brady mentioned his feelings about the play on his “Let’s Go!” podcast on SiriusXM.

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“It was a long hug, a long unwelcome hug from Grady,” Brady said. “And he was in the backfield all day. So as I said after the games, I don’t throw flags. What I do throw is tablets, and I didn’t have one accessible at that time. He had a hell of a game. I’ll leave it at that.”

Jarrett’s hit on Brady was not the only one mired in controversy during Week 5 of the NFL season.

During Monday night’s Chiefs-Raiders game, defensive lineman Chris Jones was penalized for roughing the passer when he hit quarterback Derek Carr.

The call came when Kansas City had a 10-point lead late in the first half. Jones tackled Carr from behind, knocking the ball loose and recovering it, which would have been a pivotal turnover for the Chiefs.

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Grady Jarrett of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates a sack during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Oct.  9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Grady Jarrett of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates a sack during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Oct. 9, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“When you do it right, I don’t believe you should be punished for it,” Jarrett added during the radio interview. “It’s not just the player, it’s the team, it’s the city, and it’s everything for everyone involved. It’s highly, highly emotional, and we just don’t want it to go down like that. Hopefully something can come from this and a change can happen. But, at the end of the day, I would hope that some conversation would be had.”

According to a report from The Associated Press, the roughing-the-passer rule will be discussed during the NFL owners meeting next week.

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The report also noted that officials have not been given specific instructions from the NFL to emphasize roughing the passer calls after Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s head injury.

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