The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played to a 29-29 tie in Week 2, thanks, in large part, to a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Clay Matthews.
The NFL will not backpedal on the call and instead will reportedly use the play in a teaching video.
Matthews was not flagged for putting his body weight on Cousins but was instead penalized for using the "scoop-and-pull" technique, something the NFL considers an "intimidating" act.
The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played to a 29-29 tie in Week 2, thanks, in large part, to a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Clay Matthews that negated a game-winning interception in the final two minutes.
While many felt the NFL would backpedal on the flag on Monday, instead, the league is doubling-down.
"The NFL will include Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews' controversial roughing the passer penalty on a teaching video it distributes to clubs this week to emphasize the 'scoop-and-pull' tactic Matthews used when he hit Kirk Cousins is, in fact, a foul, NFL.com has learned," Pelissero wrote.
Here is the play:
After the game, referee Tony Corrente explained the penalty, saying, "He picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground."
This led many to believe that Matthews was flagged for launching off his feet and using his body weight to drive Kirk Cousins into the ground. While Matthews' feet did come off the ground, many fans and analysts had a problem with this because it was clear he braced the fall with his hand on the ground which kept his full weight from landing on Cousins.
However, according to Pelissero, the NFL will show that the problem with the hit is what they call the "scoop-and-pull" technique used by Matthews. This move is something that is considered an "intimidating and punishing act" by a rushing defender on the QB.
"Among other things, the technique of grabbing the passer from behind the leg(s), scooping and pulling in an upward motion is considered a foul," Pelissero wrote.
Matthews does grab Cousins around the legs as they go down. The NFL is going to argue that Matthews "scooped" and "pulled" Cousins into a position that could have led to an injury by driving him into the ground.
While the NFL has softened some of the new penalties aimed at safety this season, it appears that they are not going to ease up on protecting the quarterbacks.