SEATTLE – Tyrone Crawford was at a loss trying to describe the hit that earned him a roughing the passer penalty. From the sound of it, Sunday's officials didn't help him much, either.
After calling a 15-yard penalty on Crawford's hit of Russell Wilson in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Seattle, the officials told Crawford he put too much body weight on the Seahawks quarterback while bringing him to the ground.
"Whatever that means," Crawford said. "I don't know any other way to hit."
It's telling that Crawford, who is typically reserved when he speaks to the media, didn't hold back when asked about the hit. Going through the play after the game, he said he doesn't know any other way to play his position – and he doesn't intend to change that.
"If they're trying to take that much away from us – it is what it is, man. I'm going to hit like that, regardless," he said. "These quarterbacks are shifty and they can get away from you if you don't hit the quarterback the way you hit any other player."
It might be cold comfort following a frustrating 24-13 loss, but Crawford has a powerful ally in this regard. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked about the play following the game and spoke emphatically on the call.
"That was not roughing the passer under the existing rules. That just was not roughing the passer," Jones said.
It would be an exaggeration to say the call completely changed the game. The penalty was called on Seattle's third offensive snap, turning a three-and-out into an automatic first down. But it did not result in any points. In fact, the first score of the game wouldn't happen until a full quarter later, when Wilson hit Jaron Brown for a 16-yard touchdown halfway through the second quarter.
Still, it's a troubling trend for a league that has put more and more emphasis on protecting the quarterback in recent years. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews has been flagged for the same penalty in all three of the Packers' games this season, two of which have directly affected the outcome of the game.
Crawford said the rule will drastically change how defenders handle their assignments.
"You miss tackles that way, you play timid, you play slow," he said. "Another rush in the game, I didn't go after him the way I wanted to because of that thought in my head."
It's something that bears watching as this young season continues. Crawford said he's aware that he will likely be fined for the hit – which is another thing that players will have to consider.
"No one wants to lose $17,000 or whatever they're going to hit me for. I'm going to get the letter," he said. "So no one wants to get with something like that. We've got families we've got to take care of. That money could go to them. Instead, they're trying to get us on petty stuff. It is what it is."
Adding that insult to the injury of their second loss this season, frustration sounds like an understatement.