The Vikings’ Week 2 NFC North matchup with the Packers on Sunday ended in a tie, which is sure to become relevant toward the end of the season when the playoff picture takes shape. But for the second week in a row, an infuriating roughing the passer penalty impacted the outcome of an NFL game.
With 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews put a jarring hit on Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins that took them both to the ground. The tackle by Matthews was practically textbook, but the referees flagged him for a personal foul, roughing the passer.
The call ultimately gave the Vikings a second chance, and they promptly marched down the field to tie the game, 29-29.
When you review the play, it is clear Matthews delivered a clean hit to Cousins’ chest. It’s hard to believe he could have made a cleaner tackle. Yes, Cousins’ feet did leave the ground. But Matthews also put his arm out to avoid throwing his full body weight on the quarterback.
The NFL stands by the call, and later reiterated they were correct to issue a personal foul. But this is simply a bad rule.
In fact, the league feels so strongly that they made the correct decision, they will reportedly include the hit on a training DVD, sent to all 32 NFL teams, as an example of an illegal “scoop-and-pull”.
Two former NFL senior vice presidents of officiating, Dan Blandino and Mike Pereira, have taken a strong stance against the call.
Former @NFL officiating chiefs @MikePereira and @DeanBlandino issued strong rebuttals today to the league’s emphasis on roughing the QB, especially the two calls in MIN-GB. Relevant transcript: pic.twitter.com/mtnpcepi0Y— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) September 17, 2018
This call, even if it’s correct, changed the outcome of a divisional game that ended with a tie. While by the NFL’s latest rulebook, the call was correct, we’re going to say this rule needs to go. If it doesn’t, the art of the quarterback sack might just vanish before our eyes.