Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan took issue with the officiating in Sunday’s 23-20 victory over Baltimore.
Lewan’s beef, in particular, was over a hit where Marcus Mariota was throwing the football away near the Titans sideline and Baltimore linebacker Matthew Judon came in with a hit after the ball was released. There was no flag thrown on the play, and as the game went to commercial after a Titans punt, television camera showed Lewan screaming at the officials over what he felt was a late hit.
“Don’t hit our quarterback. It’s bull (expletive). I’ll say it again, it’s bull (expletive), it’s bull (expletive). Bull (expletive),” Lewan said in the locker room after the game. “Why is it they throw flags on the Thursday night on Flacco, but 8 (Mariota) gets hit late all the time and they do that? It’s ridiculous. It’s getting out of hand. People get mad and go, ‘Oh, you’re doing too much.’ No. If they’re not gonna do it, then we need to do it.”
Lewan went on to say that he will probably be fined by the NFL for his comments, but that he wants to see Mariota better protected from late hits in those situations.
“I’ve already been warned once about talking to the refs by the NFL. I got a letter about that, but I’m like, protect our quarterback,” he said.
Lewan was later called for a personal foul penalty after a Titans touchdown that was assessed on the kickoff. He said that he was simply talking and clowning with former Michigan teammate, Willie Henry, who is a defensive lineman for the Ravens.
“They called me for a personal foul when I was with a guy (at Michigan), Willie Henry, I said ‘Good job’ and gave him a little noggin like in ‘Finding Nemo.’ and they throw a flag. I’m like, ‘Come on, dude.’ Go ahead, fine me. I’m just saying, ‘Protect 8 over anything.’ That’s bull (expletive).”
Lewan said he and Judon talked about the hit later on and there were no hard feelings there.
“I think 99 (Judon) really evaluated it and I went over and talked to him the next series, and he said, ‘My bad.’ I said, ‘It’s cool. He’s not hurt. It’s fine,'” Lewan said.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said after the game that the play was legal by the letter of current NFL law, but probably should be addressed in the off-season.
“I think that’s something that needs to be addressed at some point, maybe in the off-season,” Mularkey said. “when the defenders know the ball is gone, and still have the ability to tackle the quarterback. When he’s moving like that, he’s not protected under the pocket rules, so what he did was basically legal.”
The Ravens did draw a 15-yard penalty later in on the first half when Za’Darius Smith shoved Mariota after an incompletion that would have forced a fourth down field goal try. However, it kept the drive alive and allowed the Titans to score on Derrick Henry’s 1-yard TD run.