Nobody saw anything wrong with Phillips’ sack Sunday night except the officials, who waited several seconds before throwing one of the worst roughing-the-passer flags of the season.
There are often questionable and bad penalties called in the name of protecting quarterbacks, but the one on the Miami Dolphins in Sunday night’s 23-17 loss to the Chargers was one of the worst. Phillips sacked Herbert, his knee hit the ground and then Phillips’ momentum took him forward and on top of Herbert. Phillips tried to brace his fall, but it didn’t matter. Officials thought he landed with his body weight on Herbert, and that’s a penalty.
Regardless, it’s impossible to think Phillips tried to land with his full body weight on Herbert. Or that he could have done anything differently. And still, it was flagged.
There have been a lot of bad roughing the passer calls this year, this might be the worst. Jaelan Phillips literally braced himself to avoid body weight. That’s textbook avoiding a penalty pic.twitter.com/ESO16lHwyF
— Football Nerds (@FootballNerds_) December 12, 2022
Phillips let out his frustrations on Twitter after the game. The league will decide on a potential fine for the hit later in the week.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, if I’m about to be fined $15,000 for “roughing the passer” then there needs to be some accountability and a review of what constitutes that penalty
— Jaelan Phillips ;🕴🏾® (@JJPhillips15) December 12, 2022
NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay was like everyone else watching at home: He couldn’t believe it was a penalty.
“This is a normal tackle,” McAulay said. “I just don’t see how this should be a foul.”
You didn’t need to be a former NFL referee to figure out it was a normal tackle.
Overall, it’s smart for the NFL to try to protect quarterbacks. The game is a lot worse when quarterbacks are injured. But there are times it leads to some bad calls, and Sunday night was one of the worst.