Refs got crushed for 'lame' roughing call on first play of NFL preseason

By , Audacy Sports

The NFL returned on Thursday night -- and so too did ticky-tack roughing-the-passer penalties.

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The league staged its first preseason game of the 2022 campaign, and no sooner than the very first play from scrimmage did the refs flag a defender for roughing.

The highly questionable infraction was called on Jacksonville Jaguars rookie defensive end Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft.

Walker came off the edge and had pressure on Raiders quarterback Jared Stidham. The former Georgia Bulldogs star reached out to hurry Stidham mid-throw, making contact in the area of Stidham's shoulder pads. Stidham was throwing off his back foot, and the contact from Walker seemed to help carry him backward and onto the ground after he released the ball.

Apparently, that was enough to draw the yellow hankie.

NBC Sports announcers Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth didn't mention whether they agreed with the seemingly questionable call.

But plenty of users on social media voiced their displeasure:

All was not lost for Walker in his professional debut, however. He would later go on to record a clean sack of Stidham, his first in the NFL ranks. His selection as the first overall pick was polarizing, but it seems the Jaguars have a keeper on their hands.

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