Yesterday, the Houston Texans were 20 point underdogs against the Arizona Cardinals, and even when they were up 5-0 thanks to a grand slam and sac fly, everybody on earth knew they still stood no chance.
Much like Will Hunting of Good Will Hunting, it's not your (their) fault. When you've got a roster full of washed-up skill guys and no names, nobody is expecting you to win games, especially when you're playing against one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. I'd imagine that tackling being next to illegal doesn't help either.
Kyler Murray has been an absolute freak of nature this year. Through seven games, he's thrown for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns (with a tad higher than you'd like to see 5 INTs). He's not doing this as some statue in the pocket. Kyler Murray makes prime Russell Wilson look like Drew Bledsoe; add three rushing touchdowns and a surprisingly low 126 rushing yards to his MVPish start. Those yards don't even begin to tell the story of his mobility both in and outside the pocket.
Despite what my words on this website might cause you to believe, I'm no idiot. I understand why the NFL has drastically altered its rules to protect the quarterback and make it nearly impossible to play defense in this league ($$$$, ratings and fantasy football). We all know as soon as the D catches up, the rules (or their enforcement) changes. Case and point: the Colts complaining after the 2003 AFC Championship Game.
The NFL doesn't want to lose franchise quarterbacks, and I respect that, but at the same time, it's still football, and football is a violent game. Not only is it violent, but it's fast too. Quick reactions are the name of the game; you have a split second to make a decision. That's why something as simple as a quick shimmy can lead to a broken tackle in space.
How are you supposed to play defense in the NFL when this is a penalty?
It's like the refs were in a race to throw their flag fastest. I understand that rule is put in place to protect QBs, but how is a defensive lineman moving at full speed supposed to react to a 5'10" (riiiiight) dude with elite speed ducking at the last second to make the contact zone even smaller? How are you supposed to make play on a 5' 8" QB with 4.3 speed who gives you a 2 foot target when he ducks? It's next to impossible.
If Max Scherzer had to pitch to nine Eddie Gaedel's, he'd likely walk at least eight of them since their strike zone is the size of a postage stamp.
I don't know how you fix this problem, but something has to change. We saw in 2019 how difficult it is to review a subjective play in the one-year trial of pass interference challenges in the wake of an egregious miss in the NFC Championship Game—in a perfect world, roughing the passer would be reviewable. It can be a drive and game-altering flag, so you HAVE TO get it right, especially when even softer hits like this are giving teams a free 15 yards. If you call roughing past the offense's 40 yard line they're already in field goal range. The way I see it, if you can challenge the spot, which gets overturned at most 15% of the time based on my made-up research, you should be able to review roughing. No hyperbole; this clip from week 6 is one of the worst penalties in NFL history.
You might not know this about me, but I was an offensive lineman in high school.
So if I'm taking the side of a defender, you know things are fucked! How are you supposed to defend Kyler Murray other than intercepting his hero ball passes if you literally can't touch him? He's a stud, and I don't want him to get killed out there, but I mean, I don't know what to say other than it's FOOTBALL. It's a dangerous vocation. Hits are going to happen. I'm not saying we need to go backward to the days of Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb NEVER getting a call, but there has to be a middle ground between borderline racist officiating and outlawing tackling. If you're a defensive player in the NFL reading this, just know Ole Dozo has your back.