The NFL may have issued its most ridiculous roughing the passer penalty yet, and that’s saying something.
During the Thursday Night Football game between the Rams and the Seahawks, Rams linebacker Clay Matthews was called for an illegal hit on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. If you watch closely, you will see that there was nothing illegal about the hit whatsoever.
Clay Matthews gets a bad call, not late, shoulder to shoulder, rushed him into a bad pass#TNFonESPN #ThursdayNightFootball #TNFonPrime #TNF #TNFonFOX #NFL #NFL100 #GoHawks #LARams @RamsNFL #LARvsSEA #Seahawks @Seahawks pic.twitter.com/90j6gUTnKl
— Hunter W (@HW_Report46) October 4, 2019
Not only is the hit shoulder-to-shoulder, not helmet-to-helmet, which is what the NFL allegedly wants its players to do, the ball is also in Wilson’s hand all the way up until the very last moment before Matthews hits him.
If we were to take the NFL at their word (we should not) this hit would be a textbook example of what they want their players to do. Instead, they flag Matthews for the hit because in reality the NFL just doesn’t want anyone to touch their quarterbacks, ever.
Twitter was quick to respond to the atrocious call:
Clay Matthews was ejected for looking at Russell Wilson too intensely pic.twitter.com/PWeWFA2d5D
— Mike Hock (@SirSports23) October 4, 2019
Official NFL rulebook on roughing the passer:
“If Clay Matthews did it then it’s a penalty.”
— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) October 4, 2019
Clay Matthews: *exists*
Ref: Personal foul, Number 52 defense.
— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) October 4, 2019
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) October 4, 2019
Has Tom Brady tweeted about that roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews?
— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) October 4, 2019
While some will say the flag was thrown for hitting the quarterback “high,” it’s important to note that the point of contact where Matthews hits Wilson is actually below his shoulder, that cannot be considered high. The point of outlawing high hits is to protect the head, Matthews was nowhere near Wilson’s head.
If what Clay Matthews did is a high hit, then a new and correct definition of “high” is needed.
On top of everything else, the call gave the Seahawks a first down at a critical point in the game and may have very well proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
The Seahawks won, 30-29.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn