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Suh’s 2nd personal foul for clean play

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 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.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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3 thoughts on “Suh’s 2nd personal foul for clean play

  1. You’re wrong. Suh cocked and then delivered his right forearm as well as a shove with his left hand.

  2. It’s football. He can shove a player from behind, but he cannot deliver a blow to the head. If Suh shoved Cutler to the ground, he completed the tackle. While Cutler’s neck movement might give you pause, it is still not illegal.

  3. Fred, you really just said “as well as shove with his left hand”. You really said that, in referring to the process of tackling a player who was running with the football. You do realize that it is perfectly legal to push someone who is running with the football, correct?

    Even if you say he hit him with a forearm, which nobody other than Ed Hoculi and the Bears think happened, you actually continued to try and justify the penalty with “as well as shove…

    I have yet to see a neutral party observer say that that penalty was anything but a joke.

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