Replacement Refs Destroy Potential Classic MNF Matchup

By Matthew Asher

If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thought he was being criticized about the replacement officials before the Broncos/Falcons Monday Night Football game, just wait until later this week. If this game isn’t the last game with the replacement referees, Goodell needs prepare for an unheard level of backlash. The only good that can be said about this game is that the regular officials should be returning next week.

In what should have been an instant classic, the Falcons’ 27-21 victory over the Broncos will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. For Matt Ryan, this was supposed to be the game where proved he should be included in the same sentence as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as one of the elite quarterbacks of the league. Ryan even threw for his 100th career touchdown pass in the game. Sadly, the officiating is all that people will be talking about.

Twitter blew up with all of the ridiculous penalties, flags and general sloppiness of the officiating. A few favorite tweets were “Somewhere in Atlanta there is a Footlocker with no employees.” And, “I’m switching over to Monday Night Raw. Bottom line…better officiating.”  The first half took two hours. Two hours. In which 30 minutes of football was played.

Now that the obligatory rant on the officiating is done, here’s a quick rundown of the good and bad. You should know what they ugly will be.

The Good
Atlanta’s Defensive Backs. When Peyton Manning starts a game out throwing three interceptions in the first eight minutes of a game, with one  nearly returned for a touchdown, you know you’ve got a chance to break this game wide open. And for Falcons cornerback Robert McClain, congratulations on your first NFL interception.

Matt Ryan. Congratulations Matty Ice for your 100th career touchdown. You were an impressive 24-36 for 219 yards, 2 touchdowns and most importantly: no interceptions.

The Bad
Atlanta’s Offense. In the first quarter, the Falcons offense was stagnant at best. With the defense forcing Denver to commit four turnovers in the first quarter, the score should have been much higher. Instead of potentially having a commanding 28-point lead, Matt Ryan and company had just 13 points to show for the defense’s hard work on the field.

Simply looking at the statistics, it would appear that Denver had control of the opening quarter. Other than the score, Denver outgained the Falcons in almost every meaningful statistic. Denver had twice as many first downs and nearly four times the total offensive yardage as well as possessing the ball nearly twice as long.

Atlanta’s rushing attack. Just like last week, the Falcons had trouble moving the ball on the ground. After Peyton Manning threw an opening-drive interception, Michael Turner needed three attempts to score from the 1-yard line. The third attempt, with Turner jumping over the pile, was still very close to being ruled no touchdown. For the game, Atlanta ran for 67 yards. Michael Turner had an anemic 2.5 yards per carry. If the Broncos hadn’t committed four turnovers in the first quarter, there’s a very good chance Atlanta wouldn’t have won.

The Ugly
The officiating (you knew this was coming). Many were unaware a coach could challenge a penalty call. Denver did this twice and got one call reversed which ended an Atlanta drive.

While debating a call, the referees left their microphone one once. Hearing these men just proves that Roger Goodell needs to agree with whatever demands the real referees want, because these replacement refs are in over their heads.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Falcons news, see CBS Sports Atlanta.

Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on

  • Turner’s Arrest Biggest Topic During Smith’s Media Report « CBS Atlanta

    […] than the officiating woes that plagued the game, the biggest news story was the arrest of Falcons running back Michael Turner […]

  • Dirty Birds Quickly Becoming Jail Birds « CBS Atlanta

    […] the Monday Night Football win in Week Two, Michael Turner was pulled over for going almost 35 mph over the speed limit. […]

  • Undefeated Falcons Welcome Panthers To Georgia Dome « CBS Atlanta

    […] secondary need to know where Steve Smith is at all times during the game. With Atlanta’s defense limiting Peyton Manning’s passing in their first home game, the challenge of Newton and Smith is not […]

  • Falcon’s First Quarter Report Card « CBS Atlanta

    […] had done a great job of both. Atlanta currently has the third most interceptions (seven) with three against Peyton Manning, ninth most sacks (10) and five fumble recoveries to give them a plus-10 turnover ratio. Yes, they […]

  • Raiders And Falcons Contest May Come Down To Ground Game « CBS Atlanta

    […] has already beaten the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. This week, they attempt to sweep the AFC West as the 1-3 Oakland Raiders […]

  • Mark it Eight: Falcons Survive Battle Against Big D « CBS Atlanta

    […] you will about Atlanta being the only undefeated team left in the NFL. You can say they’ve only beaten one team with a winning record this season, or that their running attack is the team’s Achilles Heel, but what you cannot argue […]

  • Falcons Gets Revenge By Ending Brees’ NFL Record « CBS Atlanta

    […] only does this win help ease the pain of Atlanta’s only loss this season, but if the Denver Broncos defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, Atlanta will claim the NFC South Division with an […]

  • Falcons Fans: Root for These Teams this Week « CBS Atlanta

    […] of the season, starting with the rest of Week 13. As mentioned in the Saints/Falcons game review, with a Denver Bronco win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, the Falcons will clinch the NFC South title. […]

  • With Atlanta’s Division Title, NFC Playoff Picture Now A Little Clearer « CBS Atlanta

    […] Atlanta Falcons should send the Denver Broncos a thank you note this week. After already defeating the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, Atlanta […]

  • Robert McClain: Proof That A Team Is Only As Good As Its Backups « CBS Atlanta

    […] Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, Samuel needed to be taken out in the first quarter and McClain was put in. A handful of plays […]

  • Falcons Not Only Blowout Giants In Victory, They Pitch A Shutout « CBS Atlanta

    […] 11-2 record was so good only because they had played just one team with a winning record (Week 2 against Denver) through the first fourteen […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Goes Big With A New Daily Show!
Popeyes Crash Your House!

Watch & Listen