By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — With right tackle Tristan Wirfs out of Sunday’s game, Tom Brady knew going into the Buccaneers’ playoff game that he was due to get hit by the Rams’ potent pass rush. But that didn’t mean he was going to be happy about it.
So when Brady absorbed a shot that he felt violated the rules, he wanted a penalty called on the offending party. After Von Miller delivered a shot to Brady’s chest and facemask, Brady turned to referee Shawn Hochuli while pointing to his chin.
Hochuli didn’t give Brady the flag he was looking for, leading Brady to erupt and clearly shout, “Are you [bleeping] kidding me?” at Hochuli.
At that point, Hochuli finally did reach into his belt for his yellow flag, though he was doing it to call a penalty on Brady.
The 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct marked the first time Brady had ever been penalized for that offense in his 22-year career.
Tom Brady gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after giving the refs an earful after this hit by Von Miller. pic.twitter.com/XBDiHxRCNl
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) January 23, 2022
Brady did have a point, as his lip was bloodied by the hit.
Von Miller busted Tom Brady’s lip 🩸👀 pic.twitter.com/d5rJu0e8C7
— PFF (@PFF) January 23, 2022
Brady being Brady, he made a dandy of a play for a 19-yard connection on the next play, converting the second-and-17 and making up for the penalty yardage.
— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2022
But the Bucs’ drive stalled out at the 30-yard line, and Ryan Succop missed his field goal, keeping Tampa’s deficit at 17-3.
Interestingly enough, Brady spoke on his podcast this week about his feeling that he does not receive more roughing the passer penalties than most quarterbacks. But he did admit that referees have let him get away with some post-whistle explosions like the one that was flagged on Sunday.
“I do know that they probably let me get away with a lot of unsportsmanlike conducts, you know, talking smack to the other team, talking smack to the refs when I don’t think I get the right call,” Brady said. “I’m kind of a pain in their ass, if you don’t already know that.”
.@PFF can you pull this stat? Unless it doesn’t favor me in which case forget this ever happened…
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 19, 2022
Brady had more reasons than just the hit to the chin to feel frustrated at the time of his outburst. With the aforementioned Wirfs being out, the ferocious pass rush was in Brady’s face just about every time he dropped back to pass. Brady was just 10-for-21 for 112 yards at the time of the penalty, with the Bucs punting on three of their first four possessions before the missed field goal.
The day got worse, too. After the Rams tacked on another field goal to go up 20-3, Brady was sacked on the first play of the ensuing possession before throwing an interception on the second play.
TURN US UP WITH THAT PICK, @nickmscotty!
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 23, 2022
Brady’s penalty was the second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against Tampa Bay in the first half. Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was penalized after pointing at Matthew Stafford following a play where Suh argued that Stafford kicked him.
This is the play that Ndamukong Suh said Matthew Stafford kicked him 🤔pic.twitter.com/8PN665Wa6v
— PFF (@PFF) January 23, 2022
That was not the first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of Suh’s career.
The Bucs ended up marching all the way back from a 27-3 deficit to tie the game at 27 with under a minute left in the game, only for the Rams to quickly drive down the field to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired.
After the game, Hochuli explained why he penalized Brady.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 24, 2022
“He got in my face in an aggressive manner and used abusive language,” Hochuli said. “As for the hit, we did not think that it rose to the level of roughing the passer.”