Chiefs Roughing-the-Passer Penalty Draws Ire from NFL World

  • A roughing the passer penalty drew the ire of the NFL world Monday night.
  • Chiefs linebacker Chris Jones took down Raiders QB Derek Carr in the backfield and stripped him of the ball, drawing a flag from the refs and boos from the home crowd.
  • The NFL has taken steps to make the game safer after Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion, but it’s clear there are still some wrinkles to iron out.

“What is capture?”

It’s a question that has puzzled NFL fans and prognosticators for years. Varying interpretations at key moments have turned what should be a simple definition into a conundrum of sports legalization.

Now this week, a new perplexing question has been posed to the NFL public: What is it that bothers the passer?

On Sunday, Tom Brady drew a somewhat confusing roughing penalty after being tackled by Atlanta Falcons’ Grady Jarrett. Jarrett seemed to have performed a sack – a task he is paid millions of dollars to do. But the referee thought the lineman “needlessly” brought Brady down and the Buccaneers were awarded a penalty that helped seal the game.

On Monday night, the questions were compounded when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was sacked by Chiefs linebacker Chris Jones late in the first half.

Again a flag was thrown for roughness of the passerby.

The penalty gave the Raiders a first down that eventually turned into a field goal for Las Vegas. While the Chiefs were able to pull back points before halftime and eventually win the game 30-29, as the teams left the field for the halftime break, the Arrowhead crowd made their feelings known with some incredible loud boos.

Like the hit in the Buccaneers-Falcons game, it’s again unclear exactly what Chris Jones was supposed to do in this situation. He had gotten to Carr, and until the whistle blows, it’s his job to take him down or force a turnover.

Earlier in the game, it appeared that the referees were doing their best to mitigate these types of situations.

On the Chiefs’ first possession of the game, Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby broke the line and wrapped up Patrick Mahomes. However, Mahomes never hit the ground because the referees essentially blew the whistle as soon as Crosby reached him.

But in the game that won Jones the penalty heard ’round the world, the ball was lost.

After the ball is released, the play opens – at that point, can Carr even be considered a passer? — and Jones will obviously do whatever it takes to get his team possession.

By the end of the game, Jones had been called upon to hurt the passer while in possession of the ball.

On Twitter, fans were both confused and disappointed.

Even some NFL players — both current and former — got involved, wondering exactly how to play defense if players weren’t allowed to tackle the quarterback.

The confusion over the rule comes in the wake of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion, which brought a new wave of attention to the health and safety protocols in place to protect players from head trauma.

While it’s hard to blame the NFL for trying to keep its players as safe as possible while playing an inherently violent game, it’s also clear that there needs to be some clarification in the coming days about what kind of contact is allowed with the quarterback back

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