|There is no place for flagrant hits like this one in today's NFL.|
From the NFL's rulebook:
Colin Kaepernick was well out of bounds by the time Clay Matthews launched himself at the quarterback. Matthews contacted Kaepernick high around the shoulder pads and slammed him down with force, bouncing the quarterback's head off the turf. The hit was everything the NFL defines as flagrant and more -- it was premeditated. Matthews had been outspoken all week about laying hits on the 49ers quarterback. Considering Roger Goodell's push for player safety and stance on bounties, Sunday's game would have been the perfect platform to make an example out of Clay Matthews.
|Where was your influence Roger?|
Instead there was an offsetting penalty by the 49ers that led to an official gaffe. The 49ers made the most of the extra down which resulted in an Anquan Boldin touchdown. Boldin looked sharp in his debut.
This play sends the message to players that intentionally clobbering a player who is well out of bounds is merely unnecessary roughness. An ejection (fair) for Clay Matthews or suspension (harsh) would have matched the NFL's recently enhanced focus on player safety. The lack of enforcement is conspicuous and something to be monitored as the season progresses.
Rabble Rabble Rules: A line needs to be drawn and enforced on unnecessary roughness.
UPDATE: Matthews was fined 15K.
This further exemplifies the NFL's stance that this hit was just a routine late hit on a quarterback. Fines for 15K are not uncommon and seem to be the standard amount for crimes against quarterbacks. This hit was anything but routine, and it is surprising to see such an average response to a foul that occurred under the circumstances described above.