Week 13: Bears at Lions
Ndamukong Suh, the Lions defensive tackle who was penalized erroneously for a horse-collar tackle two weeks ago, encores with another unearned 15-yarder. This time, head referee Ed Hochuli threw a flag on a tackle Suh made on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Hochuli, never one to conserve his words, announced the penalty thusly:
Number 90 went to the head [gesturing with a forearm] from the back of the runner with his forearm. That is unnecessary and, by rule, a foul.
As Bad Calls Football.com points out, there was no forearm contact when Suh made the tackle. Furthermore, Cutler was an open-field runner at the time, which removes most of the quarterback-specific protections at that point.
There is video at the link.
Generally, we don’t call out “wrong” calls when they are judgment calls, except Hochuli provided an explanation for his ruling that was proved his judgment was not supported by the videotape. However, these specific calls do not count against the referee’s performance ratings (used for determining playoff assignments), as we’ve reported before, according to the Game-Related Discipline manual from the league:
The Competition Committee emphasizes that whenever a game official is confronted with a potential unnecessary-roughness situation and is in doubt about calling a foul, he should lean toward safety and not hesitate to throw the flag.
The same goes for his phantom horse-collar tackle.