Baker Mayfield escaped a devastatingly brutal chest bump Sunday afternoon.
Protecting quarterbacks is good — protecting all players is a good and worthy goal in the NFL — but sometimes the lines get blurred between contact sport and two-hand touch. That’s something the NFL might want to take a look at.
Jets defensive lineman Foluronso Fatukasi was flagged for roughing the passer penalty on Baker Mayfield and … well, take a look at what might be the softest, worst roughing the passer call in the sport’s history:
No one is saying murder the quarterback, but it’s hard to see what exactly a 300-plus-pound defender barreling down on a quarterback is supposed to do in this situation. Fatukasi pulled up and, rather exaggeratedly, pulled his arms away from Mayfield to drive home there was no malicious intent behind the … chest bump.
While the NFL’s rule book is thorough when it comes to what exactly is roughing the passer, it’s difficult to see how Fatukasi really transgressed here: Could his facemask have made contact with Mayfield? His momentum was pulling him toward the Browns quarterback.
In any case, the call may have been right (that’s a stretch) but the judgement is still questionable, at best. For less ambiguity, maybe the NFL can rename the penalty to “tapping the passer” in 2021.
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