Bad call on Ravens Punt return Touchdown

The playoff game between the Steelers and the Ravens had several questionable calls, but I thought this one was the worst.  Ravens punt returner Lardarious Webb made an amazing play to score the touchdown and give the Ravens some much needed momentum in a game that was obviously slipping away from them, but the officials took it all away with a very questionable holding call.  Ravens Receiver Marcus Smith made what appeared to me to be a good block on the Steelers Will Allen, but officials called holding and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal on the drive.  You can see the replay here. Let us know what you think about this call in the comments.

Posted in Playoffs | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

What is a defenseless receiver? A comparison of hits.

This season the NFL has taken a very strong stand on player safety.  As a result of this we have seen more penalties called for hits on a “defenseless receiver”.  But what exactly is a defenseless receiver?  I’m not sure that NFL officials even know.  Here we will look at several plays from the 2010 season.  Some were penalized, some were not.  Some plays that looked like clean hits were penalized, while others that were obviously dirty and malicious, were not.  Keep in mind that the NFL has stated that a hit doesn’t have to be “helmet to helmet” to be a penalty.  If a defender launches at a receiver while that receiver is “defenseless,”  it is a penalty.

After the break we will examine several hits and compare them, and see how inconsistently these calls are being made.

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Questionable non call on Brent Celek hit helps Packers hold off Eagles

All season long we have seen defenders get flagged for hitting defenseless receivers.  We have been told by the NFL that even if a defensive player does not lead with his helmet, if he launches his body into a defenseless receiver it is a penalty.  That exact thing seemed to happen to Eagles tight end Brent Celek late in the game against the packers.  There was no flag thrown on the play and a few plays later Michael Vick threw an interception in the endzone.  This is a play that I believe should be looked at again because we have seen penalties called for the same kind of hits all year.  A penalty would have given the Eagles a first down deep inside Packers territory with the clock stopped.

Before this year I would have said that this was a clean hit, but the NFL has told us all year that hits like this are illegal.  I will have a comparison up soon of similar defenseless receiver penalties that were called against the defense.  For now let me know what you think in the comments.  You can see the play here, it starts 7:25 into the video.

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Bad Intentional Grounding Call In Ravens – Cheifs Game

The Ravens got a late intentional grounding penalty called on Chiefs QB Matt Cassel after complaining to officials after what looked like a legal play.  Matt Cassel was not about to be sacked and there was a receiver running a route up the sideline in the area that the ball was thrown.  It very well could have been a real pass that was just badly overthrown.  There was no penalty thrown right away but after the play officials talked to several Ravens players and after about 30 seconds a flag was thrown.  This call just didn’t seem right to me, what do you guys think?

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Missed Helmet to Helmet Call in Steelers – Ravens Game

This is getting ridiculous. NFL officials have once again managed to screw up a helmet to helmet call. This time it was a blatant leading with the helmet tackle by a Ravens defender on a defenseless Steelers receiver Heath Miller late in the 3rd quarter. Millers head snapped backwards on the hit and he was carted off the field. Even the announcers on Sunday Night Football could not believe it was not called unnecessary roughness. After all the questionable penalties called on James Harrison and the Steelers this this year, the Steelers have to be furious that this play was not flagged.

Posted in Week 13 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Suh Flagged for legal tackle on Jay Cutler

Lions DT Ndamukong Suh was penalized for unnecessary roughness for his tackle of Bears QB Jay Cutler on this play. Official Ed Hochuli says that Suh’s forearm hit Cutler in the back of the head, but on the replay this is obviously not the case. Also since Cutler was beyond the line of scrimmage and was not in the act of sliding to the ground, he is basically treated like a running back, and can be tackled like a running back.

As I have said before, it looks more and more each week like the NFL officials are just throwing flags on any play were a QB or receiver takes a hard, painful looking hit, weather it really is an illegal hit or not. On this play Suh simply pushed Cutler down from behind which is obviously a perfectly legal form of tackling. Hochuli’s explanation of the call was even more ridiculous because he said Suh used his forearm, even though the replay clearly shows that Suh’s forearm never touches Cutlers helmet.

Posted in Week 13 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Andre Johnson Ejected for fight with Cortland Finnegan

Obviously it was way out of line for Andre Johnson to punch Finnegan repeatedly, and deserved an ejection.  But watch what Finnegan did that triggered the outburst from Johnson.  Finnegan jams Johnson hard in the neck area, underneath his helmet.  Have you ever been punched in the throat?  Because that is basically what Finnegan did to provoke this outburst from Andre Johnson.  I can see why the normally calm and quiet Johnson went off and started swinging.

This was an obvious cheap shot from a player with a long history of cheap shots and dirty play.  Andre Johnson is know as a soft spoken, humble, disciplined football player.  Basically the opposite of every “diva” WR in history.  I hope that NFL officials look Finnegan’s history and what he did that set Johnson off, and fine him for this dirty play.  I could only find the one replay of this incident, but others who watched the game live have reported that Finnegan was jamming Johnson in the underneath his helmet like this all game, but was not penalized for it.   Obviously Johnson needed to be ejected for what he did, but don’t you think Finnegan deserved a penalty, and possibly an ejection before Andre Johnson had to take matters into his own hands?

Posted in Week 12 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

James Harrison Flagged For Helmet to Helmet hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick

Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison was penalized for another questionable helmet to helmet hit this week.  This time it was against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills.  It might have been a borderline hit, but officials ruled that it was a helmet to helmet hit, and called the penalty.  You have to wonder if Harrison’s reputation influenced the decision to throw the flag here.  You can see a replay here, about :25 into the video. What do you think?  Is Harrisons reputation as a big hitter influencing the officials, or was this really an illegal hit?  Let me know in the comments.

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