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Texans’ Tim Dobbins fined $30,000 for hit on Jay Cutler

Bears quarterback Cutler lies on the field after being hit late on a play by the Houston Texans during the first half of their NFL football game at Soldier Field in Chicago Reuters

Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins said the NFL shouldn’t fine him after he was flagged for a helmet-to-chin hit that caused Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to suffer a concussion on Sunday night.

The NFL disagrees with Dobbins’ assessment. Strongly.

Dobbins has been fined $30,000 for his hit on Cutler, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That’s a more expensive fine than players usually get for roughing the passer, which suggests that the league office thought Dobbins’ hit was more flagrant than your run-of-the-mill roughing the passer penalty. (Or it could suggest that the NFL decided to make an example of Dobbins because he had the misfortune of committing his penalty against a high-profile player on the most-watched game of the week.)

An interesting element of Dobbins’ argument is that Cutler had crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw his pass, which means that Cutler was breaking the rules by throwing a forward pass, and that Dobbins could credibly say he thought Cutler was a runner. But the league’s point of view is that Cutler was in a passing posture at the point when Dobbins launched head-first into him, and because of that, his paycheck is going to be a lot lighter.

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50 Responses to “Texans’ Tim Dobbins fined $30,000 for hit on Jay Cutler”
  1. huskylawyer says: Nov 14, 2012 2:58 PM

    Cutler was beyond the line of scrimmage! Didn’t the NFL just release a memo to teams stating that QBs outside of the pocket or beyond the line of scrimmage are fair game and get no special attention?

  2. FinFan68 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:00 PM

    Would the fine have been $30k if Cutler was not concussed and if he played the rest of the game? If the answer to that question is no, then the NFL’s system is fatally flawed. The flags and fines (when necessary) should be based on the action and not the aftermath.

  3. 91devinhester23 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:00 PM

    late hit.. check

    going for the head.. check

    no effort to pull away.. check

    hard to believe he’s arguing this

  4. sullijo1 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:00 PM

    I’d pay 30,000 to hit Cutler that hard.

  5. contraisloosebuthole says: Nov 14, 2012 3:01 PM

    That is ridiculous! Once he is past the line of scrimmage he is a runner. He wasn’t sliding or anything. Drill him again Dobbins.

  6. panamon says: Nov 14, 2012 3:02 PM

    It was likely a combination of how unnecessary it was to hit like that and the comments he’s made, including:

    “It was good that he was out. You always wanted to take the quarterback out of the game.”

    And his position coach and him talking about his “knockout punch”.

  7. dukemarc says: Nov 14, 2012 3:03 PM

    I’m as far from a Bears fan as you can get but this guy is getting off easy – that was as cheap a shot as it comes.

  8. xxwhodatxx says: Nov 14, 2012 3:05 PM

    So it’s not the act that determines the fine amount? They should implement a graduated fine scale. Not just ,oh whatever we feel like fining you that’s what it is.

  9. mialto says: Nov 14, 2012 3:09 PM

    It doesn’t matter if he’s passed the LOS, you can’t 1. Lead with your Helmet, 2. Make Helmet to Helmet contact. Simple NFL rules.

    BTW – NFL already acknowledged he wasn’t passed the LOS.

  10. asublimeday says: Nov 14, 2012 3:19 PM

    Good. Should’ve suspended him a game. That hit was absolutely filthy, and he clearly knew it by his immediate reaction.

  11. pdillon1 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:20 PM

    So in other words, the NFL doesn’t believe Cutler’s body was across the line of scrimmage (which it wasn’t). Should have been the Bears ball at the 2 yard line which would have changed the outcome of that game.

  12. shaggytoodle says: Nov 14, 2012 3:25 PM

    Does this mean running backs can’t get helmet to helmet when running around?

    I know the NFL changes thier rules alot so maybe I missed it.

    Players take that hit like that alot, when screens are blocked pourly.

  13. dino2997 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:25 PM

    Dobbins deserved it. The hit was intentional and helmet to helmet. He could have easily pulled it up.

  14. unbreakable02215 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:25 PM

    Watched that game. No horse in the race. Worst
    cheap shot of the weekend.

  15. rereynol says: Nov 14, 2012 3:26 PM

    It doesn’t matter that he was passed the line of scrimmage. He drove up into his head. Defensive backs get fined for hitting players in the head all the time. That’s what happened here.

    There’s no inconsistency here.

  16. dino2997 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:28 PM

    Replays clearly showed Cutler was NOT beyond the line of scrimmage. Of course the referees did not have that viewpoint and neither did Dobbins. He has no leg to stand on.

  17. huskylawyer says: Nov 14, 2012 3:28 PM

    Funny, I swear when I see RBs carrying the ball beyond the line of scrimmage, they are getting hit in the helmet….

  18. tjacks7 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:28 PM

    It’s obvious that Cutler was hit and didn’t “run into” Dobbins. But, that’s a grey area, IMO. Cutler left the pocket and was approaching – technically he crossed – the line of scrimmage. Why isn’t he considered a ball carrier? Because he threw an illegal forward pass?

  19. winkeroni says: Nov 14, 2012 3:40 PM

    I took another look at it. It looked like he didn’t make up his mind to hit Cutler until after the ball was thrown.

  20. marthisdil says: Nov 14, 2012 3:42 PM

    mialto says: Nov 14, 2012 3:09 PM

    It doesn’t matter if he’s passed the LOS, you can’t 1. Lead with your Helmet, 2. Make Helmet to Helmet contact. Simple NFL rules.

    BTW – NFL already acknowledged he wasn’t passed the LOS.
    =======================

    And the NFL says things like Brady didn’t fumble…oh…wait…

  21. supremekingz says: Nov 14, 2012 3:44 PM

    This is ridiculous. $30,000 is a lot of money. Even to a millionaire who’ll probably only make 6 figures for 8-10 years tops. You can’t just take 30 grand away from a guy because he made a simple mistake.

    It’s a contact sport, and he made contact. Get over it!

  22. kenmasters34 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:45 PM

    Cutler wasnt past the line of scrimmage.

    Whats up with Replay this year? A lot of bad calls, even with instant replay available.

  23. shaggytoodle says: Nov 14, 2012 3:54 PM

    rereynol says:Nov 14, 2012 3:26 PM

    It doesn’t matter that he was passed the line of scrimmage. He drove up into his head. Defensive backs get fined for hitting players in the head all the time. That’s what happened here.

    There’s no inconsistency here.
    ___________________________

    Thats only while they are trying to catch the ball though. If they are trying to YAC they get hit helmet to helmet it doesn’t get flagged.

  24. pudgalvin says: Nov 14, 2012 3:59 PM

    He didn’t have the damn ball in his hands!!!!!! You can’t go late to the head of a running back either if he doesn’t have the ball. If you come late at a defenseless player’s head, you’re getting fined. I don’t see what’s so hard to undated stand about this.

  25. pick6ftw says: Nov 14, 2012 4:00 PM

    Urlacher still gave him a high five for an excellent play.

  26. protagoras111 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:03 PM

    If it was a dirty hit, it was worth every penny. Seeing that little whiny brat get blown up was as enjoyable as listening to you Bear fans cry over losing to a team that most of you dismissed as being overrated. Thanks for the memories, Dobbins!

  27. atwatercrushesokoye says: Nov 14, 2012 4:04 PM

    A helmet to helmet hit on a running back is perfectly LEGAL! You can’t hit a QB or defenseless receiver in the head. It was a vicious hit no doubt but since he was passed the line of scrimmage (as determined by the officials) it should not have been a flag or a fine.

    The players who should be outraged here are the running backs, because if Cutler were wearing a number in the 20′s that hit draws no scrutiny.

  28. htown1035 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:07 PM

    mialto says: Nov 14, 2012 3:09 PM

    It doesn’t matter if he’s passed the LOS, you can’t 1. Lead with your Helmet, 2. Make Helmet to Helmet contact. Simple NFL rules.

    BTW – NFL already acknowledged he wasn’t passed the LOS.

    ———————————————-

    Please show where the NFL confirmed this, since if you look at the replays he’s clearly over the line.

  29. huskylawyer says: Nov 14, 2012 4:07 PM

    Did the Steeler that blasted RG3 on the pass play get fined? Just wondering…

  30. htown1035 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:10 PM

    kenmasters34 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:45 PM

    Cutler wasnt past the line of scrimmage.

    Whats up with Replay this year? A lot of bad calls, even with instant replay available.
    ============================

    False – he was clearly past the line of scrimmage:

    The line of scrimmage was the 50 yard line, not the 49 like the Sunday Night Football crew assessed it was. Look at the replays on Youtube and it’s easy to see.

  31. eaglesfanalways says: Nov 14, 2012 4:11 PM

    I’m all for protecting quarterbacks – but while I’m no fan of Vick, the way he gets hit and there’s no penalty or fine tells me something about the offciating is not right. He gets his head driven into the turf and there’s no call…let’s all play by the same rules, shall we?

  32. htown1035 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:13 PM

    dino2997 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:28 PM

    Replays clearly showed Cutler was NOT beyond the line of scrimmage. Of course the referees did not have that viewpoint and neither did Dobbins. He has no leg to stand on.
    ============================

    Actually replays show the line of scrimmage was the 50 yard line, not the 49, and he was past it when he threw the ball.

    FAIL!

  33. gerryb323 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:21 PM

    atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Nov 14, 2012 4:04 PM
    A helmet to helmet hit on a running back is perfectly LEGAL!
    ___________________

    Tell that to James Harrison!

    Also, Cutler was def not over the line…

  34. kelshannon19 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:26 PM

    Aaaand Matt Slausen only gets hit with $10,000 for ending Cushing’s season?

  35. denverdump says: Nov 14, 2012 4:45 PM

    Multiple of you have stated “If he’s passed the LOS”. I hate to be a hater but I’m thinking you’ve been hit in the head a few times too many. If he’s past the LOS knock his block off! Enough grammer comments.

  36. dashmooz says: Nov 14, 2012 4:59 PM

    Texans fan here, so take this with a grain of salt:

    1) I can see where they fined him because there was some helmet to helmet, but not as much as everyone is intimating. This is clearly not a case of launching like a missile into someone’s body – Dobbins never even ‘went over’ – stayed on his feet and turned around to go back towards the continuing play.

    2) Whether Cutler was or wasn’t ‘over the line of scrimmage’ or not is completely irrelevant. Is the defender supposed to stop and check his watch, all the while waiting for the QB to continue over the line of scrimmage? The QB left the pocket and ran towards the line AS A RUNNER. He has the ability to throw up until he is over the line, but to expect players running at full speed (in a game like the NFL that moves at an unbelievable pace) to judge how they can hit him that close to the LOS is ridiculous. He was a runner, and the ‘protections’ of a QB should end if he is heading to a run. Dobbins should have hit him in the body and not so high up – but let’s be honest here. This is NOT the worst hit ever. I’ve seen far worse this year.

  37. lilrob10201 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:59 PM

    I thought when a QB ran past the line of scrimmage with the ball then he is a free runner and you can hit him anywhere as hard as you want.

  38. cwwgk says: Nov 14, 2012 5:00 PM

    Line of scrimmage doesn’t really matter, Cutler never attempted to advance the ball as a runner. The entire time Dobbins was approaching, Cutler was in the process of throwing the ball downfield. Dobbins was moving towards him the entire time and launched after the ball was thrown.

    Whether you like him or not Cutler was in the defenseless posture the league is protecting. Hit was cheap, unnecessary and Dobbins’ excuses ridiculous. Every bit of the $30,000 fine was justified.

  39. doug1grohlin says: Nov 14, 2012 5:00 PM

    That was a horrible hit and he should’ve been suspended too. Cutler has been awesome late in the game and it could’ve ended differently. It could’ve ended differently if those refs hadn’t called it an illegal pass(which it was not).

    Oh well, all my, “could’ves” don’t change the fact that my Bears are at 7-2. They’ll get back on track, one loss isn’t the end of the world.

  40. shaggytoodle says: Nov 14, 2012 5:16 PM

    atwatercrushesokoye says:Nov 14, 2012 4:04 PM

    The players who should be outraged here are the running backs, because if Cutler were wearing a number in the 20′s that hit draws no scrutiny.
    _________

    I agree with you. 100%, the NFL is trying to have it both ways.

    I think thats part of the reason some of those HBs hold out for big money when they feel it oppurtune.

    The way this play went down and was flagged. Doesn’t sit right with me. Yeah it was a gnarly hit.
    He was pass the LOS. Its causing a grey area of sorts.

  41. beefbus says: Nov 14, 2012 5:23 PM

    Cheap dirty hit deserves a fine this heavy. Dobbins also admitted to going “high” at him and that he was happy he knocked him out. His whole foot (which is needed to be over the LOS) was not over it.

  42. larryboodry says: Nov 14, 2012 5:26 PM

    I just watched the play again, LOS was the 50, so Jay was past the line…BUT…By the time Dobbins spears him illegally with his helmet under the chin, the ball had already left Cutler’s hand, Dobbins knew this and hit him anyway. The fine was well-deserved.

    And Dobbins didn’t help himself with his smirking comments after the game.

  43. larryboodry says: Nov 14, 2012 5:32 PM

    Also, it looks like Dobbins launches himself into Cutler despite having time to realize he no longer had the ball…He was out to injure, and he succeeded.

  44. egwett says: Nov 14, 2012 6:06 PM

    In don’t get it, how does he fined??? I’m not a Bears fan and I’m certainly not a Texans fan. I’m a Patriots fan born and raised in Ct., who has also developed an affinity for the Falcons after 13+ yrs in metro Atlanta. If the man gets flagged for, and the penalty gets upheld for an illegal forward pass bc Cutler was beyond the line of scrimmage, then by definition he is a runner not a passer and is subject to getting blasted. The league can’t have it both ways. That was a completely legal hit.

  45. htowntexan says: Nov 14, 2012 6:09 PM

    so why is there a slide rule for quarterbacks if you can’t hit them past the line of scrimmage anyway? that is in essence what this fine means.

    for what it’s worth, i think his concussion came on the next play when he ran it and (again) failed to slide. he took a direct hit to the head there that looked a lot like the hit that gave vick a concussion.

    and finally, i thought highly of the bears organization and fans before this game. now i think they are a bunch of cry babies. cutler is wearing off on you.

  46. maddbearfan says: Nov 14, 2012 6:54 PM

    It was done deliberately t take Cutler out of the game. I’m sure the Texans will be happy to pay the fine for Collins and give him an “atta boy” slap on the back, because it gave the Texans the best chance of winning. Even the announcers couldn’t believe the refs call. They could see it pretty clearly that he wasn’t passed the los.

  47. htown1035 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:37 PM

    It was done deliberately t take Cutler out of the game. I’m sure the Texans will be happy to pay the fine for Collins and give him an “atta boy” slap on the back, because it gave the Texans the best chance of winning. Even the announcers couldn’t believe the refs call. They could see it pretty clearly that he wasn’t passed the los.

    ——————————————-

    Yeah because clearly he was dominating them in that first half…smh…

  48. jcoon1982 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:50 PM

    That’s a lot of money for a guy making league minimum.

  49. thetokyosandblaster says: Nov 14, 2012 8:35 PM

    It’s funny how trashy bears fans can claim that replay showed Cutler behind the line, so no matter what the call on the field, it was wrong.

    It seems to me that the same trashy bears fans were on the Seahawks/Packers games saying that replay didn’t matter, and that the call on the field was all that mattered.

    Interesting how hypocrisy works.

  50. mud5h0vel says: Nov 15, 2012 2:02 PM

    that wasn’t a cheap shot nor did he lead with his helmet. He was past the line of scrimmage, you’re going to get hit, period. and he lead with his shoulder. It was still an illegal hit to the head, hence why he got flagged.

    But $30k?? Slausen only got $10k for that horrendous block from behind & he put Cush out for the year!!

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