Matt LaFleur's dubious challenge vs. Bears not a great start for pass interference review

It didn’t take long for the NFL to see its first red flag implementing the league’s new pass interference challenge rule.

It was a poor effort.

Early in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s NFL kickoff game, Chicago Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel caught a pass from Mitchell Trubisky near midfield for a 15-yard gain and a first down.

It was a routine play. Until it wasn’t.

LaFleur thinks he sees pass interference

Rookie Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur thought he saw a foul on the play and challenged the ruling on the field seeking an offensive pass interference call on Gabriel.

Remember, it’s not just pass interference calls that are eligible for review, but plays where officials miss a blatant pass interference penalty, as well. The missed pass interference penalty in the NFC championship game was the impetus for the rule change.

Nickell Robey-Coleman trucking Tommylee Lewis this was not.

What was LaFleur thinking?

Gabriel brushed Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander with his left hand while jockeying for separation on a curl route. It was minimal contact that no neutral observer would deem pass interference, much less a blatant call that meets the standards of being overturned via replay review.

Officials took a quick glimpse at the play and determined that there was, indeed, no pass interference.

It wasn’t a great look for LaFleur. But he’s a rookie, and rookie mistakes can be expected.

But it was the kind of decision that will have critics of the new rule howling. LaFleur’s challenge of a play with no hope of being overturned did nothing but waste time and extend the football game.

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