The NFL has had a tough season with its passer rules. While the spirit of the rule is correct — to protect quarterbacks and enhance player safety — there are many moments that seem to go overboard. In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Vikings-Giants Wild Card playoff game, it dawned on everyone watching that the NFL had gone too far.
With the New York Giants leading 31-24 in the final three minutes of the game, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins faced second and fourth and threw an incomplete critical pass with New York’s Dexter Lawrence immediately putting pressure on his face that should have put a third down. Instead, Lawrence was called out for roughing up the smuggler for reasons that are up for debate.
Lawrence made accidental contact with the QB’s helmet. He knocked Cousins to the ground, but was probably softer than he needed to be. The game looked like a solid tackle, that’s for sure, but it’s football after all. Minnesota was gifted a huge first down and kept their drive alive by penalty.
What a ridiculous call to brutalize the passer over there on Dexter Lawrence. Beyond Evil. QB still has the ball when it’s swung to the ground.
CRITICAL junction on play. Pass from 3rd and 5 to automatic play 1st and 15 yards.
Really despicable call from the official. #Giants
— Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) January 16, 2023
Luckily for the Giants, Kirk Cousins still had Kirk Cousins moments in him, throwing short sticks on a fourth down moments later, setting up New York for a win to take them through on the turn of division.
The Giants played some of their best football this season. But this moment was tough. There were also a lot of reactions on Twitter.
Are you kidding me. Rush the ferryman. WTF
— Booger (@ESPNBooger) January 16, 2023
This nfl season has been an 18-week competition to see which officiating crew can do the worst on a passer call.
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) January 16, 2023
I was just saying to my daughter, “What this game needs is a blatant penalty for the setter.” The NFL gives its millions of viewers what they want.
—Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) January 16, 2023
Brutalizing the smuggler…. TOUGH look for football as a whole normally
Let’s fix it out of season @NFLOfficiing
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 16, 2023
Rush the passer… he still has the ball… they have to stop with that
— Dont’a Hightower (@zeus30hightower) January 16, 2023
This brutality of the smuggler’s call makes me wonder why I don’t watch football anymore.
— Sage Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18) January 16, 2023
all season I’ve been thinking “oof, weird manhandling the setter call, hopefully that doesn’t happen with two minutes left in a playoff game” and alas there’s two minutes left in a game playoff
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) January 16, 2023
Well, we had gone far too long without an excruciating phone call from the smuggler.
— Trey Wingo (@wingoz) January 16, 2023
Brutalize the smuggler? Weak! There needs to be more clarity and revisions.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) January 16, 2023
I don’t think it was roughing up the passer. He didn’t even knock him down. He kind of put it on the ground. Don’t blame Daboll for going crazy there, especially in this place.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) January 16, 2023