With his track record, Ndamukong Suh has a lot riding on how the NFL disciplinarians rule on a play in which his foot landed in Houston quarterback Matt Schaub’s groin Thursday.
Intentional? Or inadvertent?
“When you consider the history, everything is on the table,” NFL VP of football operations Ray Anderson told ESPN.com Friday.
Late in the first quarter, Suh was on a pass rush. Houston tackle Derek Newton knocked Suh to the ground and in the process of going down, his foot contacted Schaub as the QB was throwing a pass. There was no flag on the play.
Last Thanksgiving, Suh was suspended two games after stomping on Green Bay lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm.
“Repeat offenders are going to run out of benefit of the doubt faster than someone who is a first-time offender,” Anderson said. “If I were a judge in the courtroom, and you’re in for a third-time DUI, I’m going to look at that differently than if this is your first DUI — even if you didn’t maim anybody.”
No ruling is expected until at least Tuesday of next week.
REVIEW RULE UNDER REVIEW
The NFL says it’s going to take a look at the goofy, ill-conceived rule that gave the Houston Texans an undeserved touchdown and perhaps a win Thursday.
That’s kind of a no-brainer by the league after Detroit coach Jim Schwartz threw his replay beanbag, therefore nullifying an automatic official review of a play that should have been overturned. Instead of getting the play right, the officials assessed Detroit a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and the bogus touchdown was allowed to stand.
What the league ought to do is find out who the lamebrain was that actually wrote that aspect of the rule and send that guy packing.
On the play in question, Texans running back Justin Forsett was hit by Detroit defenders and replays clearly showed his knee and elbow touched the turf when he was hit. There was no whistle, Forsett stayed on his feet and scored an 81-yard touchdown.
Honestly, isn’t replay all about getting the play correct?
“The rule was put in place really to prevent a team in a challenge situation from creating a delay,” Dean Blandino, the NFL’s director of instant replay said, according to NFL.com. “They’re thinking about challenging the play, they commit a foul, jump offside, false start, now they’ve given themselves more time to make that decision.”
But what does that have to do with a coach throwing the challenge flag? And why doesn’t an automatic review of a turnover or a touchdown trump that rule? Schwartz didn’t delay anything by throwing the beanbag. It should have been a completely irrelevant act.
And when the NFL gets through talking about it, it will be fixed, no doubt. But the Lions don’t get a win and the Texans don’t get a loss.
RODGERS QUIETLY AWESOME
The 2010 and 2011 seasons were all Aaron Rodgers, all the time. The Green Bay quarterback was putting up glitzy numbers all over the place, on his way to a Super Bowl victory in ‘10 and then having an even better year in ‘11 when he won the MVP with 45 TD passes against just six interceptions.
But now, with Peyton Manning back in play, with a bevy of young hothouse rookie QBs lighting up the scoreboards, Rodgers and the Packers have slid to the edge of the spotlight.
You can make a reasonable case that Rodgers has been just as good, maybe even better, this year than the past two.
The numbers certainly don’t say that but he has quietly engineered five wins in a row, a 7-3 record overall, all accomplished behind a threadbare offensive line and with key injuries to offensive veterans. There’s also the matter of that horribly-botched call by the replacement refs that probably stole away a Green Bay win in Seattle.
Rodgers doesn’t have a Calvin Johnson or an Andre Johnson or a Roddy White, or just about every big-time receiver you could name. Jordy Nelson is his No. 1 target and his 43 catches rank him 40th in the league, but there Rodgers is at the top of the QB standings with a rating of 107.
He is the most-sacked QB in the league yet he’s still averaging 260 yards a game and has thrown for 27 TD’s in 10 games.
Hard to imagine the Packers and Rodgers sneaking up on anybody but ... just sayin’.
VILMA NOT HEARING IT
Jonathan Vilma is going to get his day in court but he’s unhappy about the timing of the appeal hearings into the so-called BountyGate suspensions.
Vilma wants to hear what his accusers, former Saints defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams and assistant Mike Cerullo, have to say but they have been scheduled next Thursday and Friday, while the Saints — and Vilma — are in Atlanta for a Thursday game against the Falcons.
“I’m disappointed in that because these are the guys that made the case against me,” said Vilma. “I would love to be there to see them and hear what they have to say. For whatever reason, he (Tagliabue) felt like I don’t need to be there.”
Suspensions for Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove were originally imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Now former Commissioner Tagliabue will hear the same evidence and rule on the appeals early in December.
If he upholds the bans, then the Saints could be shorthanded as they come down the stretch toward the playoffs. Vilma was originally banned for the entire season while Smith got four games.
CHARGERS SET TO SURGE?
On the surface, you wouldn’t normally give the struggling San Diego Chargers much hope against the AFC North leaders from Baltimore but this might be just the right spot for the Chargers to begin what has been something of an annual sprint down the stretch to the playoffs in many of the recent seasons.
The Ravens come into this game, travelling across the continent off a win over arch-rival Pittsburgh to open up a two-game lead atop the division. They also face the Steelers again next week.
This is a classic look-ahead situation for the Ravens. The Chargers are in a funk at 4-6 but they’ve made a habit of late-season surges. Philip Rivers has been taking a beating behind a lousy offensive line and that flaw should be a killer against an opportunistic defence like Baltimore’s that hasn’t allowed a red zone touchdown in the last three games.
Last season the Chargers beat the Ravens 34-14 in a similar situation in Week 15.