On the first possession of Monday night’s game in New Orleans, Saints defensive end Martez Wilson sacked Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on a third down, apparently ending the Eagles’ drive. But the referee threw a flag on Wilson for a helmet-to-helmet hit, giving Philadelphia 15 yard and an automatic first down and extending the drive.
Now the NFL has tacitly acknowledged that the flag was thrown in error.
The league office has confirmed to PFT that Wilson was not fined for the play, which indicates that on review, the NFL saw nothing that Wilson did wrong on the play.
The NFL generally doesn’t come right out and say when an official makes a mistake, but this was a mistake: It wasn’t roughing the passer because there was no pass on the play, and although Wilson’s helmet did collide with Vick’s helmet, it was a head-on collision that took place when Vick ducked his own head in an attempt to avoid pressure from the outside, and Wilson ran straight into him. That’s just good football, not a penalty.