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Moise Fokou “shocked” by flag for hit on Alex Smith

Moise Fokou AP

In Week One, Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David was penalized for hitting Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds, setting the Jets up for a game-winning field goal.

The play wasn’t malicious, but a case of David starting to make a tackle on a quarterback running near the sideline and finishing it as Smith stepped out of bounds. Smith had gained extra yards by remaining inbounds several other times during the game, making David’s desire to make sure he didn’t do so again both understandable and painful to the Bucs.

Something similar played out in Tennessee on Sunday with a quarterback who shares a last name with the Jets signal caller. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was running near the sideline with the Titans leading 17-13 in the fourth quarter when he was hit by Titans linebacker Moise Fokou as he stepped out. Fokou was penalized and the Chiefs went on to score the go-ahead touchdown on their way to a 26-17 win. Fokou took issue with the call after the game.

“I was shocked,” Fokou said, via John Glennon of the Tennessean. “I thought I was OK. … The way I looked at it, I thought [Smith] was still [in bounds]. I’m going full speed, left my feet and I don’t know how to stop in mid-air.”

Fokou’s description of the play and the difficulties faced by defensive players in those situations is pretty much on the money, although that doesn’t change the fact that hits like that on quarterbacks almost always draw flags. Coach Mike Munchak bemoaned the way those calls are made, as did perennial opponent of NFL rules Bernard Pollard. In a surprising twist, Pollard also said that Fokou needs to be more mindful of the way games are called.

“The quarterback wasn’t out yet and this guy is somebody who’s diving and sliding late, all this other stuff,” Pollard said. “It’s a gray area and it’s something I think needs to be corrected in the rules because it’s hard for us defensive players. Having said that, you have to look at the situation we were in and you have to let him go. The guy was 2 yards shy.”

David was fined for his Week One hit. We’ll find out if Fokou faces the same discipline later this week.

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23 Responses to “Moise Fokou “shocked” by flag for hit on Alex Smith”
  1. savocabol1 says: Oct 7, 2013 9:39 AM

    All personal foul penalties should be subject to a coaches challenge. They can swing games just as much as a turnover.

  2. crr99 says: Oct 7, 2013 9:49 AM

    A lot of talk about the questionable late hit on Smith but what about the Pass Interference call on Eric Berry that set up the TD instead of a FG attempt.

  3. jbholcom says: Oct 7, 2013 9:50 AM

    Titans fans want to point to this call as the turning point in the game. The truth of the matter is that these refs were terrible all day long on both side of the ball for both teams.

  4. ramblinhamblen says: Oct 7, 2013 9:53 AM

    Agreed. One area that College is ahead of the NFL (reviewing the targeting rule, which will likely be changed to allow the yards to be reversed in addition to the ejection after this season). It may slow down the game, but it changes outcomes nonetheless.

  5. wtfchiefs says: Oct 7, 2013 9:58 AM

    That game was full of awful calls. That officiating crew was very, very poor. I’m glad the Chiefs got the win, but the refs ruined that game from beginning to end.

  6. jredshoes says: Oct 7, 2013 10:00 AM

    As a Chiefs fan I must admit that call was questionable along with 2 phantom PI/defensive holding calls we got. I won’t mention the whistle that stopped Bowe from a touchdown run even though he doesn’t appear to have hit the line. If you look at that play Smith was basically at the first down marker anyway. Even if the call was bogus the Titans got the ball back with 4 minutes left down by six. It may have been a horribly officiated game but you lost because “Fitzmagic” threw 2 picks in 2 minutes. You are a good team but man up about why you lost

  7. realestwhiteboy says: Oct 7, 2013 10:03 AM

    College is ahead in the entire review process. If they have review officials in place for 2-minute warning, why can’t they review every play, like college?

    Also, this is NOT a judgement call. The QB is either in bounds or he is out of bounds, it SHOULD be reviewable, period.

    On this call, the LB launched when the QB was a step in-bound and made initial contact before his feet touched down out of bound. He didn’t use un-needed force, didn’t horse-collar, didn’t fall on top of him … he just pushed him out of bounds on a 3rd-and-5 when there was no other defender infront of him to stop the 1st-down and the QB had designated himself a runner and chose to not slide, but instead fight for the first. There is no way this should be a flag. Had it been able to be challenged, the flag would’ve been picked up, without question.

  8. realestwhiteboy says: Oct 7, 2013 10:08 AM

    As a Chiefs fan I must admit that call was questionable along with 2 phantom PI/defensive holding calls we got. I won’t mention the whistle that stopped Bowe from a touchdown run even though he doesn’t appear to have hit the line. If you look at that play Smith was basically at the first down marker anyway. Even if the call was bogus the Titans got the ball back with 4 minutes left down by six. It may have been a horribly officiated game but you lost because “Fitzmagic” threw 2 picks in 2 minutes. You are a good team but man up about why you lost

    ====================================

    Getting the ball down by 6 with 4 minutes left is alot different front getting it up by either 1 or 4 points with 6 minutes left, when you can burn some time and pen them deep and let your defense win.

    That said, the PI call that set up the TD was BS … we should’ve been tied at that point, for sure. CBS never showed a good angle on the Bowe catch, though. It was questioned if his left foot touched the line, and they only showed cameras from the right side view, where you can’t see his left foot at all.

    Fitz was terrible to start, but the final INT was not his fault, IMO. He hit an open Walker on a deep pass, but the TE let the ball bounce off his shoulder pads into a Chiefs hands. I assume this is why the 49ers chose Davis? hahaha

  9. tennesseeoilers says: Oct 7, 2013 10:14 AM

    The only people that lost this game for us were in Titans’ uniforms. Not the refs and not Jake Locker being out (though he is indeed a game-changer).

    Our special teams spotted the Chiefs 7 points before our offense touched the ball, our receivers and backs dropped several passes (including a would-be touchdown and 4th quarter 1st down), we had dropped interceptions, and couldn’t even punch the ball in from one yard out with multiple shots at it. … So own it and move on–bring on the Seahawks!!

  10. vietnambob2473 says: Oct 7, 2013 10:18 AM

    To me this was a bad call but if you are going to officiate this way you have to be consistent. Julius thomas was hit in an identical situation yesterday and it was not called. If they are going to call it this way, they need to do it EVERY time.

  11. phukurmouf says: Oct 7, 2013 10:21 AM

    Yes fitz threw 2 Ints but had that brutal game changing call not have been made the titans wouldnt have been in desperation mode where they HAD to pass the ball. It was a terrible call and it is truly sad how far it has come that officiating determines the outcome of game more and more. Muncheck could very well lose his job this season and it could boil down to that pathetic call. Ill be watchn to see if theres a fine. that would be the cherry on top. Titans have been on tare this yr playing good football (other than special teams) but theyre not the high market feel good story that KC is with the coach and new Qb. NFL likes the feel good stories.

  12. stealthscorpio says: Oct 7, 2013 10:25 AM

    “I’m going full speed, LEFT MY FEET and I don’t know how to stop in mid-air.”

    LEFT MY FEET = LAUNCH = PENALTY

    I don’t make the rules, don’t disagree that it stinks, but that is the rule. It simple and clear.

  13. normswifevera says: Oct 7, 2013 10:54 AM

    Putting aside all the other questionable calls the refs made that day, that same drive started with a punt return where they initially threw the flag for a late hit out of bounds. The flag was picked up, but that it was thrown at all should have been a clue that the refs were sensitive about late hits.

    To turn around and do it again a few plays later was just asking for trouble.

  14. granadafan says: Oct 7, 2013 11:15 AM

    Fokou is right. If refs are going to protect QBs when they “give up” by going out of bounds, then they must equally penalize QBs who fake going out of bounds and turning upfield when defenders let up.

    You’re trying to penalize defenders, who for their entire football upbringing, have been taught to tackle players in bounds or make sure they stay out of bounds.

  15. mark0226 says: Oct 7, 2013 11:18 AM

    When a QB is running out of bounds, he is giving himself up. That is the same as a feet first slide. A defender cannot launch himself at a QB giving himself up. You keep him honest by running at him to make sure he goes go out of bounds, but you don’t leave your feet as he is going out of bounds. Penalty every time.

  16. negativten says: Oct 7, 2013 11:35 AM

    He needs to tell Goddell “Fokou”

  17. wikipediasaidso says: Oct 7, 2013 11:49 AM

    This was a case of Smith being near the first down marker (trying to convert a third down), and the defender doing what any good defender is supposed to do and stop the guy with the ball before he makes the first down.

    I actually have a lot more respect for Alex Smith than to believe he was going to step out of bounds a yard short of the marker before anyone even touched him. No way do I believe he had given himself up and made the decision to get out of bounds yet.

    Turned a probable punt into a big play for the Chiefs and gave them new life on the drive. Wasn’t the reason the Chiefs won but it still sucks when a ref’s VERY questionable judgement call so dramatically alters the momentum in a hard-fought game.

  18. cowboysnation34 says: Oct 7, 2013 11:50 AM

    I literally think I’m done watching the NoFunLeague. If a QB is inbounds running towards a sideline, why can a defensive player not blow his ass up and try to create a turnover? Idc if he is clearly running towards a sideline, if he is still in the field of play he should take the hits like everybody else. Don’t want to get hit? Throw it away or take a sack.

  19. titansbro says: Oct 7, 2013 12:13 PM

    You can leave your feet on a tackle. That is not against the rules.

  20. godofwine330 says: Oct 7, 2013 1:11 PM

    Fines are out of hand and the reasons the players are being fined cannot be avoided. As Fokou said, he cannot stop in mid-air, and I have seen plenty of QB’s skirt and tippy-toe down the line and get an extra few yards (Josh Freeman did it his first game his rookie year against my Browns and got 10 yards after someone laid off when they thought he was going out of bounds). If the guy is in bounds then he should be able to be hit, no one can tell his intentions. That sideline is there, and if you want to use it, then use it, but:

    “I hear that train a coming. He’s wearing 53, I’m walking by the sideline I don’t want him to hit me, So I better stop and cross that chalkline if I want to see another play, because if he hits me inside that chalkline…he shouldn’t have to pay.”

  21. realestwhiteboy says: Oct 7, 2013 3:30 PM

    stealthscorpio says: Oct 7, 2013 10:25 AM

    “I’m going full speed, LEFT MY FEET and I don’t know how to stop in mid-air.”

    LEFT MY FEET = LAUNCH = PENALTY

    I don’t make the rules, don’t disagree that it stinks, but that is the rule. It simple and clear.

    ==================================
    No, it doesn’t. hahaha That is just silly. Left my feet = dive. In your opinion, it is illegal to jump for the ball, leap over the pile, or dive for the goalline.

    You are allowing to dive at a ball-carrier and tackle him. You have not allowed to “line him up”, launch yourself at him, and make 1st contact with the crown of your helmet.

    He didn’t touch Smith’s helmet and didn’t contact Smith with his own helmet. He dove at him and pushed him out of bounds with his hand.

    If you didn’t see the play, don’t worry about commenting. hahaha

  22. bigginfragable says: Oct 7, 2013 3:53 PM

    these calls are a joke.

    I was watching the game when this happened and the announcers were like ” he wasn’t out of bounds, that was a legal great hit”. Despite the fact that Smith actually hit the ground on the play and got back up.

    When LaVonte David gave the little push, Geno Smith technically wasn’t out of bounds yet, as his feet were still in the air. Yet his play was listed by the “Experts” as one of the 20 most bonehead plays in the last 20 years.

    Bring in replay or challenges for these types of calls, because we can’t count on the Professional Referees to make the calls. All they are worried about is making sure they don’t get a bad game grade and missing out on a playoff job. Make the bad call the NFL wants you to, instead of the right call that won’t affect the outcome of the game.

  23. paybackcity says: Oct 8, 2013 2:06 AM

    In response to getting flagged, tell me which LB is gonna say. “Yes, I meant to hit late?”

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