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Report: Roughing The Passer Rule Not Changing This Season, May Be Applied Differently

NFL’s roughing-the-passer rule may reportedly be applied differently, but is not changing in 2018

The language in the roughing-the-passer rule is unlikely to change when the NFL's competition committee speak during its conference call next week, reports the Washington Post.

According to the report, some members of the competition committee want the rule to be applied differently for the rest of the season.

Over the past few weeks, the rule has centered around Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who has been called for 15-yard roughing the passer penalties in each of the first three weeks of the season.

In a Week 2 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Matthews was flagged for hitting Kirk Cousins on a play where Cousins threw an interception that could have ended the game. The penalty allowed the Vikings to drive and tie the score, sending the game into overtime where the game eventually ended in a tie.

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On Sunday against the Washington Redskins, Matthews drew a penalty for hitting quarterback Alex Smith and officials later said that Matthews violated the rule of a defender landing on a quarterback with most of his body weight.

"What you saw there was a football play,” Matthews said after the Redskins game. “I beat my man. I’m right in front of the quarterback. I get my head to the side. I wrap him up . . . He gave himself up. I land on him. I pull my hands out . . . I like the spirit of the rule. I just think we’re going in the wrong direction.”

There have been 34 roughing the passer penalties called through the first three weeks of the season, with Green Bay leading the league with five such calls. There were 16 such calls through Week 3 in 2017.

In Monday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there were four roughing the passer calls.