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Roethlisberger inj PIT-STL


Roethlisberger hit was a foul

The hit by Rams safety Mark Barron that sidelined Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (video) should have been a penalty, according to former NFL officiating supervisor Jim Daopoulos, and invoked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s season-ending injury from 2008 (video). “This was the same kind of play that knocked Brady out. That should have been a penalty and the Roethlisberger play should have been a penalty.”

The rule, instituted in 1990, disallowed a defensive player to forcibly contact the quarterback in the knee area, except if the defender is blocked into the quarterback.

If the league agrees that it was illegal, Barron will likely be fined on Friday for the hit.

Momentum exception

In the fourth quarter of the Monday night game, the Packers caught the kickoff in the field of play and retreated into the end zone for a touchback. The Chiefs thought that the play found have been ruled a safety. Referee John Parry announced that he was ruling a “momentum touchback.”

This was a little unusual, and without further elaboration from Parry, it is not absolutely certain if the ruling was correct. The league did not respond to our request for clarification.

When ruling on a player’s momentum relative to the end zone is made, the key spot is where the receiver controls possession of the ball, which would be where the receiver’s second foot comes down after catching the ball. This momentum spot determines if there is a touchback or not.

If Parry is ruling that the second foot was in the end zone, then this is a touchback. If the second foot is at the 1-yard line, then it is Packers ball at the 1. It is not a safety as long as the receiver’s momentum carried him into the end zone, and the ball is dead without the receiver attempting to advance the ball (kneel down, directly out of bounds, down by contact).

This was a reviewable play, but the Chiefs would have had to challenge the call, despite the change of possession on the kickoff.

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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