Why is there a catch?
It’s a question that has confounded NFL observers and followers alike for years. What ought to be a straightforward definition has become a puzzle of sports legalese as a result of varying interpretations at crucial points.
This week, the NFL audience has been presented with a new perplexing question: What is roughing the passer?
On Sunday, Grady Jarrett of the Atlanta Falcons tackled Tom Brady, who then received a puzzling roughing-the-passer penalty. Jarrett looked to have successfully completed a sack, a job for which he is paid millions of dollars. However, the referee ruled that the lineman “unnecessarily” knocked Brady to the ground, and the Buccaneers were given a penalty that enabled them to win the game.
When Chiefs safety Chris Jones strip-sacked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr late in the first half on Monday night, more concerns were raised.
A flag was once again raised for roughing the passer.
The Raiders gained a first down as a result of the penalty, which Las Vegas later converted into a field goal. The Arrowhead crowd expressed their displeasure with some very loud boos as the teams exited the field for the mid-game break, even though the Chiefs were able to recover the points before halftime and eventually won the game 30-29.
It’s not quite apparent what Chris Jones was expected to accomplish in this scenario, as it was with the hit in the Buccaneers-Falcons game. It is his responsibility to knock Carr down or force a turnover up until the whistle is blown now that he has reached Carr.
The officials seemed to be taking all reasonable precautions earlier in the game to prevent situations like this from occurring.
The Raiders’ Maxx Crosby burst through the line and tackled Patrick Mahomes on the Chiefs’ first drive of the contest. However, Mahomes didn’t touch the ground because the officials called time almost as soon as Crosby touched him.
However, the ball had come free on the play that cost Jones the penalty that went viral.
Can Carr even be regarded as a passer at that point? The play opens up once the ball comes loose. Jones will undoubtedly take any and all measures necessary to return possession to his side.
After the play was over, Jones was cited for roughing the passer while in possession of the ball.
Fans were confused and angry on Twitter at the same time.
Even several current and past NFL players commented, expressing confusion about how to play defense if teammates were not permitted to attack the quarterback.
The rule’s ambiguity follows Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, which renewed interest in the health and safety measures in place to shield athletes from head trauma.
While it’s hard to criticize the NFL for trying to make its players as secure as possible while participating in an inherently violent sport, it’s also obvious that some clarity on the sort of contact that is permitted against the quarterback has to be made in the days to come.