In the second quarter of yesterday's 27-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Patriots punt returner, Danny Amendola, delivered a crushing hit to Jamell Fleming.
Amendola was hoping that, instead of catching the ball inside the 10, he would be able to let the ball bounce into the end zone for a touchback. Immediately following the hit, both teams engaged in some pushing and shoving, and the tone was set for the rest of the game.
After the play, the refs flagged Danny Amendola for unnecessary roughness, which is usually a 15-yard penalty but only resulted in a loss of 2 yards because of the position on the field.
Non-Patriots fans were, shockingly, outraged. They were calling for Amendola to be thrown out of the game and hit with a major fine.
While talking to reporters after the game, Amendola proclaimed that he thought the hit was clean: “I will appeal if I’m getting fined, but I thought it was a clean hit,” Amendola said. “We're coached to do that. It’s a big play if I block that guy and the ball bounces in the end zone. We get the ball on the 20-yard line, so it's a big play in the game, big play for field position.”
By the letter of the law, Danny Amendola led with the crown of his helmet and deserved the penalty. While he hit Fleming in the shoulder, and not the head, leading with the crown of your helmet is not only dangerous for the defenseless player, but also the player delivering the hit. However, last week during the Steelers-Bengals game, Ryan Shazier knocked out Giovani Bernard on a very similar type of hit. Check it out:
To be honest, I don't really care if Danny Amendola is fined or not. The Patriots won the game and that is all that matters in the end. Unfortunately, this is just another example of the NFL not making it perfectly clear what is and what is not a penalty.
What do you think?
By Pete Packowski