The Chicago Bears were on the receiving end of one of the most questionable penalty calls of the season, and they made sure to let everybody know about it afterward.
With his team trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers late in the fourth quarter on Monday, Cassius Marsh came up with a huge sack on third down to halt the Steelers’ drive. However, referee Tony Corrente flagged Marsh for a taunting penalty after the Bears linebacker stared down the Pittsburgh sideline without saying a word.
Cassius Marsh made a huge play but it was called back because of taunting
— Sportskeeda Pro Football (@SKProFootball) November 9, 2021
The optics were also especially bad for Corrente because he appeared to initiate contact with Marsh as he was calling him for the penalty.
Tony Corrente leaned into the contact and then held his flag toss like a walk off three pointer. What a joke pic.twitter.com/MhNlNVewJx
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 9, 2021
To be clear, Marsh did do a jump-kick celebration after recording the sack. But the flag did not come in until well after the celebration. Instead, it was thrown immediately following Marsh’s staredown of the opposing sideline.
— TRYJESUS (@lilwaltjr305) November 9, 2021
The 15-yard taunting penalty resulted in a fresh set of downs for the Steelers and put them in field-goal range. The Bears then had to burn two timeouts to stop the clock before Chris Boswell hit a 52-yard field goal. Chicago did score a touchdown on its next drive to take a slim 27-26 lead. But after Pittsburgh answered back with another field goal of its own to go up 29-27, the Bears had just 30 seconds left to go 75 yards. Bears kicker Cairo Santos missed a 65-yard field-goal attempt that fell well short as time expired.
After the game, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith criticized the taunting call.
“I thought it was a BS call,” Smith said, per Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic.
Smith summed up how most people felt about the penalty. Taunting calls in the NFL are out of control this season, and Monday’s penalty against Marsh and the Bears looked especially bad, on top of maybe costing them the game.