- Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes suffered a torn ACL on Sunday while sacking Derek Carr.
- Hayes landed awkwardly on his leg while trying to follow the NFL’s new roughing-the-passer rule, which prevents players from landing with their full weight on top of the quarterback.
- The rule was already being scrutinized for being unfair to defensive players, and now many in the NFL world are criticizing it further.
Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes suffered a brutal injury trying to follow the NFL’s controversial new rule.
The Dolphins announced on Monday that Hayes tore his ACL and will be out for the season after he suffered the injury while sacking Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in Week 3.
As Hayes brought down Carr, he tried to move to the side to avoid the NFL’s new roughing-the-passer rule, which flags players for landing with their full body weight on top of quarterbacks. As Hayes landed, his leg twisted, resulting in a season-ending injury.
Here was the play:
Here's the injury that happened to William Hayes.
He's out for the season because he tried to obey a ridiculous rule. pic.twitter.com/jomoaGI8MP
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 24, 2018
Hayes’ injury only adds increasing skepticism and criticism of the rule.
In Week 2, the Green Bay Packers had a game-ending interception against the Minnesota Vikings overturned when the referees flagged Clay Matthews for roughing the passer. While referees later said the flag was because Matthews drove Kirk Cousins into the ground, not for putting his body weight on him, the penalty still raised eyebrows.
In Week 3, Matthews was called or roughing the passer for landing on Alex Smith of the Washington Redskins.
This is roughing the passer, apparently.
Clay Matthews is no longer allowed to sack QBs. pic.twitter.com/Zp09o14gEx
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 23, 2018
After the game, Matthews expressed his frustration with the rule.
“Obviously when you’re tackling a guy from the front you’re gonna land on him,” Matthews said after the game. “I understand the spirit of the rule, I said that weeks prior … Unfortunately, this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft. The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard.”
Following the news of Hayes’ injury, criticism from the NFL world continued to pile up.
Here's a better angle of the William Hayes injury. You can clearly see him kicking his right leg out, and the bad bend. The NFL needs to eliminate the "weight on the QB rule" now. Like, today. pic.twitter.com/ngS5GYqVEi
— Doug Farrar (@NFL_DougFarrar) September 24, 2018
So in attempt to keep a QB safe… a DL’s season is over https://t.co/pm8GPOEfaK
— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 24, 2018
They don’t care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe https://t.co/ihjlz3lVQl
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) September 24, 2018
Truly incredible. We were all caught up in the helmet rule, and it’s an absolute afterthought compared to the body weight rule 3 weeks in. https://t.co/GoNSsDlWZX
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 24, 2018
As Breer noted, everyone thought the NFL’s new helmet rule would be the talking point of the league early in the season. Instead, it’s been a new roughing-the-passer call that is already shaping outcomes and, potentially, seasons.
Perhaps the league will call the penalty more frequently early on in an attempt to get players used to the rule, then scale back later in the year. But as we’ve already seen with Hayes, trying to adjust to the rule can have major ramifications.