Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews was hit with a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty late on Thursday night in their 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, one that ended up costing them the game.
The Rams held a 29-24 lead with less than six minutes left in the game at CenturyLink Field, and were trying to shut down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense as it moved down the field.
After reaching the Rams’ 40 yard line, Wilson ran a play action pass on first down. The pocket quickly collapsed on him, however, and sent him scrambling to the outside. Unable to find a target, Wilson went to simply throw the ball away.
Matthews — who was in pursuit — made very clean contact with Wilson immediately as he threw the ball away, sending the quarterback flying to the ground.
Despite the clean shoulder-to-shoulder contact as Wilson was making his throw, however, Matthews was called for roughing-the-passer.
Clay Matthews gets a bad call, not late, shoulder to shoulder, rushed him into a bad pass#TNFonESPN #ThursdayNightFootball #TNFonPrime #TNF #TNFonFOX #NFL #NFL100 #GoHawks #LARams @RamsNFL #LARvsSEA #Seahawks @Seahawks pic.twitter.com/90j6gUTnKl— Hunter W (@HW_Report46) October 4, 2019
Sure, hitting a quarterback in the head or neck or after he’s thrown the ball warrants that type of penalty. Matthews, though, hit Wilson on time — making clean contact with him less than a second after the ball left his hand, if that. The six-time Pro Bowler really couldn’t have played that any better.
The penalty moved the Seahawks up to the 25 yard line, and set up an eventual five-yard touchdown from Chris Carson to put them up 30-29.
While the Rams had one final chance, a 44-yard field goal attempt from Greg Zuerlein just missed the uprights, giving the Seahawks the critical NFC West win.
Fans erupt on social media
Almost instantly, fans took to social media to complain about the call.
Official NFL rulebook on roughing the passer:— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) October 4, 2019
“If Clay Matthews did it then it’s a penalty.”
Only reason that flag came out is because his name is clay Matthews— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) October 4, 2019
I, for one, am utterly shocked that Clay Matthews was called for a phantom roughing the passer.— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) October 4, 2019
Clay Matthews is about to lose his shit man— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) October 4, 2019
Clay Matthews: *exists*— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) October 4, 2019
Ref: Personal foul, Number 52 defense.
BS call. Maybe we need to be able to challenge roughing the passer as well.— Tavon Wilson (@tavonwilson) October 4, 2019
Has Tom Brady tweeted about that roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews?— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) October 4, 2019
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