During overtime of Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Texans, a 15-yard penalty on Houston cornerback Kareem Jackson helped fuel the game-winning drive for Seattle.
The flag came after Jackson slammed Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin to the ground.
Texans fans weren’t happy with the decision (though not quite as unhappy as they were with quarterback Matt Schaub), and coach Gary Kubiak has publicly questioned the decision.
“I understand the rule about picking somebody up and putting them on their head,” Kubiak said Monday. “I understand that. I didn’t see the play that way. Obviously, the league’s got the call on that, so we’ll see what they come back and say to us.”
We don’t know what the league has said to the Texans, but here’s what the league said to us: Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6(e) expressly prohibits throwing a runner to the ground after the ball is dead.
It’s the newest addition to the list of specific acts of unnecessary roughness listed in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6. And it applies only if the ball already is dead.
In this case, the game broadcast shows that the official already had marked forward progress and had blown the whistle. In one replay angle from FOX, the linesman can be seen in the background blowing the whistle as Jackson is in the process of scooping Baldwin off the ground.
The move would have been permissible before the whistle, and it likely isn’t easy for a player like Jackson to short-circuit the launch sequence that results in a body slam, especially if the player is still fighting to get free.
Regardless, once the ball is dead the maneuver isn’t permitted. For the Texans on Sunday, it was the proper application of a new rule.