Oakland Raiders tight end Scott Simonson was yards away from being the fourth quarter hero, catching a well placed pass from Matt McGloin near the goal line, all the separated Simonson from a potential game winning touchdown was two Detroit Lions defensive backs.
As it turned it out, those Detroit Lions defensive backs had other ideas, and weren’t about to let something like the NFL’s rules on targeting players with helmet to helmet tackles get in the way of prevented Simonson from reaching the endzone. After Simonson was initially slowed down by a Lions tackle, a second Detroit defensive back lowered the boom with one of the nastiest helmet on helmet blows of the NFL Preseason so far.
Because Simonson had just caught the ball, the play was ruled as a fumble and a recovery for the Lions despite Simonson’s helmet flying off before Detroit could control the football. Hard luck for Oakland, who at the time would have tied the game with a touchdown had Simonson either crossed the goal line or stopped short at the one yard line for a new set of downs.
Despite the lack of justice on the helmet to helmet contact that knocked Simonson out of the game following the hard impact, the Raiders would come back to win the game on a Brice Butler touchdown catch following Matt McGloin’s late heroics. You have to wonder about how seriously the league takes helmet to helmet hits following receptions as Simonson was clearly still defenseless when he controlled the football and was levelled with what was clearly a targeting of the helmet by the Lions. All of which is presently what the NFL wants to take out of the game.
Take a look at the .GIF below and be the judge? Should the Lions have been flagged for roughness on this play?