No, Week 7 was underwhelming from pretty much every angle, if only for the lack of winning teams matched up against one another. Still, however, the officials found a way to interject themselves when they otherwise were not needed.
Before getting into the brunt of said questionable decisions, let’s take a deep dive into the rules in general:
What is roughing the passer in the NFL?
The following is straight from the NFL rulebook:
“Because the act of passing often puts the quarterback (or any other player attempting a pass) in a position where he is particularly vulnerable to injury, special rules against roughing the passer apply. The Referee has principal responsibility for enforcing these rules. Any physical acts against a player who is in a passing posture (i.e. before, during, or after a pass) which, in the Referee’s judgment, are unwarranted by the circumstances of the play will be called as fouls.”
Well, that’s vague! I tried to summarize all this back in Week 1, when we saw an enormous number of roughing the passer calls across the league: “First, if the ball has left the passer’s hand and he is driven into the ground, then a call must be made. Second, a defender cannot drive the quarterback into the ground, or wrestle/drive him down. Third, no helmet-to-helmet, or using other body parts for unnecessary force. And lastly, no clubbing, hitting in the knee area, or punishing a QB who is “fading backwards”. It’s all here, if you’re interested.”
What is holding in the NFL?
Offensive holding is the following: “A penalty called when an offense player grabs onto a defensive player in order to impede his progress or gain an advantage. Holding is called when the player does not use a proper open-handed blocking technique.”
Holding, typically, is obvious, as the offensive player has hold of the defensive player’s jersey.
1. Tackling Kyler Murray must be illegal
Murray is under 6-feet tall, making him an easy target for roughing the passer penalties. On Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans, Murray went down in a heap and drew the penalty. Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins avoided helmet-to-helmet contact, but was still called for roughing the passer on Murray, as the Cardinals star ducked into the hit.
Texans DT Maliek Collins was called for roughing the passer on this play. Two refs immediately threw flags.
We see calls like this way too often.
What exactly is an NFL player supposed to do on a play like this? pic.twitter.com/Ie5UpZvE8w
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 24, 2021
There’s only so much a defensive player can do there. In the moment, Collins’ hit looked vicious, but he actually did all he could to avoid making heavy contact with Murray.