The competition committee said in a statement issued by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent a week ago that it would make no changes to roughing the passer or emphasis. If that’s the case, then Clay Matthews has even more questions after two Patriots landed with their body weight on Andrew Luck on Thursday night.
It appears that indeed officials have altered what they are ruling roughing the passer.
Officials called only five roughing the passer penalties in 15 games in Week Four after calling 34 in 48 games the first three weeks.
In the first quarter Thursday night, Patriots defensive players Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung crushed Luck for a 10-yard loss. Both landed on Luck with their body weight, though there was no “second act” of “lifting and driving.”
“The hit on Luck would have been a foul in the first three weeks of the season,” FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former head of officiating, tweeted. “The defender did try to break his fall at the end. I am happy that is not being called. The conference call with the competition committee has made a difference.”
Matthews, of course, had three penalties for roughing the passer in the first three weeks. Although he was not fined for any of them, the one against Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins negated an interception that would have iced a Packers’ victory in Week Two. Instead, the game ended in a tie.