Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger questions roughing the passer calls

Ben Roethlisberger spoke out about the plethora of roughing the passer penalties this season. (Getty)
Ben Roethlisberger spoke out about the plethora of roughing the passer penalties this season. (Getty)

Even the benefactors of the rule are questioning it.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke about the large quantity of roughing the passer calls this season after his team benefited from two of them Monday night in a 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers also had two called against them.

Roethlisberger questions NFL fans enjoyment with penalties

The Steelers-Bucs game is the latest installment of “will there be a flag.”

“There’s a lot of them,” Roethlisberger said according to ESPN. “I don’t want to criticize the officiating, especially when you’re talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out. I was surprised at the first one. The second one I thought was legit. He hit me in the helmet. It was kind of like hearing that loud ring when your helmet gets hit.

“There are sure a lot of them. I can’t imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much.”

There were four in Monday’s national primetime game, tied for most in a single game since 2001 according to ESPN’s Stats and Information.

Surprising first roughing the passer call

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was flagged with a minute left in the first quarter in the first penalty Roethlisberger referenced. McCoy got to the quarterback a second after Roethlisberger let go of a 43-yard completion to JuJu Smith-Schuster, but he seemed to be trying to abide by the rule of not putting his body weight on the quarterback on the way to the ground. He pushed Roethlisberger back by sheer momentum.

McCoy, who was mic’d up for the game, apologized during the play.

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The second on Roethlisberger was by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who hit the quarterback’s helmet trying to go for the ball. Both plays came with the Steelers backed up to the goal line.

Roethlisberger is known for evading pressure, scrambling out of the pocket to keep plays alive and usually eating up big chunks of yardage in the process. He said “finally” the league was calling penalties for hits on him, so the NFL must be serious about it.

Cam Heyward asks ‘what are we really teaching here?’

Pittsburgh defensive end Cam Heyward was flagged in the fourth quarter for unnecessary roughness during a hit on the Bucs’ Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“I want guys to be violent and fast,” Heyward said. “It’s so hard to do that. You can’t hit them, you can’t go down with them, then you put yourself in jeopardy for either reversing or getting shrugged off. That’s not football to me. I’m just being honest. What are we really teaching here?”

Green Pay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who has penalties for roughing the passer in all three games this season, has been the most outspoken about the flying flags. Meanwhile Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes is out for the year with a torn ACL he injured while sacking the Oakland Raiders’ Derek Carr. His head coach blamed the new rule.

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