Titans: Poor officiating contributed in the loss to the Bengals

Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

I didn't want to do it, but upon reflection of the Titans' woeful 31-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, I felt like the officiating in the game needed to be addressed.

If you are a Titans fan, you likely know where I am going with this one. There were two crucial calls that changed the course of the game and tilted the field in favor of the hosts. The first is the missed call near the end of the first half where Titans' wideout Adam Humphries was headshotted by Bengals' safety Jessie Bates III.

The second is when the officials decided TO call unnecessary roughness on Kenny Vaccaro for a hit on Cincinnati WR Tyler Boyd.

In the first incident, Humphries laid out to reach the pass from Ryan Tannehill and though the hit from Bates was unintentional, he lowered the shoulder and hit Humphries square in the head. I think we can all agree that the wide receiver was totally and utterly defenseless.

It is abundantly clear from watching the replays and referencing the NFL rulebook that the officials botched this sequence and cost Tennessee the chance at points shortly before halftime.

Here is the EXACT rule from the NFL rulebook:

"Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (Unnecessary roughness) in the NFL rulebook"

"If a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily. Although such violent or unnecessary use of the helmet and facemask is impermissible against any opponent, game officials will give special attention in administering this rule to protecting those players who are in virtually defenseless postures, including but not limited to:"

"Defenseless players in (f) shall include a player in the act of or just after throwing a pass; (ii) a receiver catching or attempting to catch a pass; (iii) a runner already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped; (iv) a kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air; and (v) a player on the ground at the end of a play."

It's bad enough that Humphries was concussed on the hit, but the fact the Titans were flagged for unnecessary roughness on a very mundane play makes my argument that much stronger.

At the end of the third quarter with the Bengals leading by 10, Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for hitting Tyler Boyd too hard in the chest? I have been watching football for well over a decade and I thought I had a decent understanding of what targeting in college football and unnecessary roughness in the NFL meant, but like defensive pass interference, that does not hold true anymore.

Take a look at the replay and let me know what you think of the hit (occurs at 9:09).

The Titans were flagged a total of seven times in this game for 68 yards. On the other side, the Bengals were flagged seven times as well but for just 45 yards.

The referees are not typically against the Titans - Tennessee has been flagged 40 times and seen their opponents flagged 45 times through these seven games - but the league and head official from this game, Scott Novak, should be disciplined for missing the call on Humphries and calling the foul on Vaccaro instead.

Fans and journalists alike seem to agree with my grievances!

Even Titans' head coach Mike Vrabel was shocked no call was made.