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“I don’t agree with that. That is ridiculous…I just think that’s a bad call. Change the rule, please.” -- Rodney Harrison on Clay Matthews’ roughing the passer penalty

“I think we have to use common sense here. Take the pile driving out of it, but you are going to land on the quarterback sometimes, and that’s okay.” – Tony Dungy on Matthews’ penalty

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 23, 2018 – Mike Tirico hosted the Week 3 edition of Football Night in America tonight from NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., in advance of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Tirico was joined on the set by analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, NFL Insider Mike Florio, and NBC Sports rules analyst Terry McAulay, who spoke about the roughing the passer penalty that was called on Packers LB Clay Matthews for his hit on Redskins QB Alex Smith.

Liam McHugh co-hosted Football Night on site from Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. He was joined by the SNF team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya. FNIA also included highlights, analysis, and news from around the league.

Following are Notes & Quotes from the Week 3 edition of Football Night in America:


Harrison on Clay Matthews’ penalty: “I don’t agree with that. That is ridiculous…I just think that’s a bad call. Change the rule, please.”

McAulay: “By the letter of the rule, this was indeed a foul. Clay Matthews did land with all or most of his body weight on the quarterback. But we’ve got a graphic here of the rule itself coming up, and we’ve highlighted a couple of words (a graphic displays how the rule is written). One is the word ‘unnecessarily,’ and it says ‘a defender should not unnecessarily land on the quarterback.’ There is nothing about this play today that is unnecessary. He’s coming off a block and he makes a legal form tackle, and he just happens to end up on top of the quarterback. The graphic also says ‘strive to wrap up.’ That tells me that it needs to be avoidable. Well, there’s nothing unavoidable about this play. It just shouldn’t be a foul. I understand technically that it is by rule.”

Harrison: “I think this is a reputation call because of what happened with Clay Matthews the last couple of weeks.”

Dungy: “I don’t think it’s a reputation call. This rule is written the wrong way ... This is impossible for defenders to come in, try to sack the quarterback and not land on them. It’s just physically impossible.”

Dungy: “This summer when I read the new rule on lowering the helmet, I said this is impossible. There is no way defenders are going to be able to do this. They had a little meeting -- they said they didn’t change the rule -- but they are calling it differently. I think the same thing is going to happen with this. I read this rule. How in the world are you going to sack a quarterback and not land on him? So, I think we have to use common sense here. Take the pile driving out of it, but you are going to land on the quarterback sometimes, and that’s okay.”


Harrison: “Usually you don’t want to play the Patriots coming off of a loss, but I want to play the Patriots if I’m Matthew Stafford. I look at Blake Bortles; he almost threw for 400 yards last week, four touchdowns, plus the Patriots are missing three defensive starters.”


Dungy on a head coach competing against a former team: “I remember I was struggling as a rookie head coach, 0-5, when we played the Minnesota Vikings. I knew (then Vikings head coach) Denny Green well. I had been the defensive coordinator there, and we got our first win with a little inside knowledge that I had about the Vikings offense. Hopefully (Matt) Patricia can use that tonight.”

Harrison on QB Matthew Stafford: “You have to be concerned if you’re the Detroit Lions because he’s just been taking too many hits. He doesn’t trust his offensive line. He turns the ball over too much. And every play doesn’t have to be a big play. He needs to stay patient tonight.”


Harrison: “I don’t understand Oakland’s offense. And Derek Carr, he has to be smarter. You’re in the red zone and you look for Martavis Bryant? When you’re in the red zone, Amari Cooper, he’s supposed to be your No. 1 receiver. There’s no way I’m in the red zone -- the game is on the line -- and I’m looking for Martavis Bryant.”

Dungy: “I’m going to Derek Carr on this. You’re not a young quarterback anymore. You’re a veteran. Jon Gruden is going to put the ball in your hands in big situations. You can’t throw an interception on first down.”


Dungy: “Sean McVay and the job they do on offense — Jared Goff is playing lights out. They’ve got a lot of weapons. They move people around. They have all kinds of misdirection plays, and he seems to have ways to get everybody the football.”

Harrison: “I was really impressed with Jared Goff. Todd Gurley, he’s the best back in all of football. And who wouldn’t want to play for Wade Phillips?”


Harrison on QB Eli Manning: “He kept his composure ... I really liked what he did. He spread the ball (around), no turnovers. The question is, can he keep it up? Because he’s been so inconsistent.”


Dungy: “They’ve got me scratching my head. This team played so well against New England. Now, in a division home game, you’ve got a chance to really put some space (between you and the other teams in the AFC South). They didn’t play well; they need a little more maturity.”


Dungy on the defense: “You’ve got to stay back. Just keep people in front of you. Drew Brees is going to put up points. If you don’t give up long touchdowns, you’re going to be fine. The Saints have to get this fixed if they want to be a contender.”


Florio on the injury to QB Jimmy Garoppolo: “They are ready to rally around backup C.J. Beathard. He started five games as a rookie last year and they believe he can get it done if necessary.”

Dungy: “And if it is an ACL that is just so tough luck for Jimmy Garoppolo, not just for the team, but now this will be three years that he really isn’t playing a lot of football and he needs that to develop. He needs to be in the game.”


Harrison on RB Christian McCaffrey: “They talk about him being too small, that he can’t run between the tackles. I think he proved otherwise today.”


Harrison: “The Colts won’t do much. They aren’t a threat, but they compete. Props to the Colts -- they are a young team, they compete.”