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QB overprotection, again

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Officials in Sunday's Washington-Atlanta game called the Redskins twice for personal fouls after hits on quarterback Matt Ryan. While both infractions cost Washington 15 yards, only one appeared warranted.

That was the call 50 seconds before halftime, when defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander got to Ryan -- who had gotten rid of the ball -- on third down and three. Alexander wrapped his arms around Ryan, and both players went to the ground.

Officials called roughing the passer, based on what at the time looked like Alexander driving Ryan to the ground. But go around the league on Sunday, and I'll bet you'll see many similar plays officials deemed clean.

In this instance, Alexander did not lead with his helmet. He did not toss Ryan down. The play in no way seemed malicious, yet officials called it as such. If falling on top of the quarterback were grounds for roughing, you might as well make it illegal to tackle the passer.

Hitting the quarterback late and out of bounds is another story, and officials appropriately whistled LaRon Landry for a personal foul after the Redskins safety was guilty of both three plays before the call against Alexander.

On that play, Ryan had run out of bounds when Landry delivered a blow along the Falcons sideline. The late hit caused plenty of pushing and shoving, including a heated exchange between Atlanta Coach Mike Smith and cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who used to play for the Falcons.

The Falcons had every right to be upset as they watched their franchise quarterback absorb a blow out of bounds. That Landry, notorious for late hits, was the culprit made the call that much more elementary for the officials.

By Gene Wang  |  November 9, 2009; 1:13 AM ET  | Category:  Refs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This is a non-controversy being whipped up by sportswriters with nothing better to do, along with a variety of blowhards such as Joey Porter who make their living off cheap shots. For years, quarterbacks have been the punching bags of the league, with almost any hit tolerated (and endlessly replayed on ESPN). Last year's intentional, season-ending helmet-to-knee hit on Tom Brady DIDN'T EVEN DRAW A FLAG. And now this year the Dolphins are called for trying the same stunt a second time, and widdle Joey is crying in his beer. Gene, wouldn't it be nice if you actually wrote something about football, instead of this stream of drivel?

Posted by: jerkhoff | November 11, 2009 1:00 PM

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