Watt could be facing fine, should have been flagged for Stafford hit


Late in regulation of Thursday’s game between the Texans and the Lions, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt put his helmet into the chest of Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Watt’s helmet slid up and popped Stafford in the chin.

During Friday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, Watt said he didn’t look around for a flag after the play.

But maybe he should have.

As the league office has explained it, if a defensive player contacts a defenseless quarterback in the head, even if the initial contact is lower and he catches his head on the way up, it’s a penalty.

Unfortunately for the Lions, it wasn’t.  The yardage plus the automatic first down at the Houston 30 would have given Detroit a chance to win the game without going to overtime.

Moving forward, the league office will review the play this week, and Watt could be fined.

37 responses to “Watt could be facing fine, should have been flagged for Stafford hit

  1. That is an extremely dumb rule, so if thy had no intention to hit their head and they slide up by mistake then that’s wrong c’mon can’t protect everything

  2. Very effective goodell. Fine the player 3 days after but don’t flag them. That’s sure to work?!? How about fining these refs when they miss the penalty during the game. Too many “judgement” calls in NFL. Nobody knows what’s legal or illegal anymore including players!

  3. That should not be a flag. The only reason the helmet slid up is because Stafford was falling backwards to avoid contact and get the throw off.

    And as for the league office, I’m pretty sure they assign fines by getting together and throwing darts at the wall.

  4. Looks like they really got the shaft, even if the first one was technically their fault. Them the breaks.

  5. “even if the initial contact is lower and he catches his head on the way up, it’s a penalty”

    So what you must do, is stop both your momentum and your head from sliding up as the quarterback becomes a ramp for your helmet mid-tackle….seems legit

  6. I’m a Lions fan, but let’s face it–both teams got screwed from horrible officiating that began with the opening kick off. Why do you think Schwartz was livid by the 3rd quarter and ended up losing his cool by throwing the challenge flag? He’d seen enough…it’s not the first time he’s thrown down a challenge flag in disgust. There’s been a few times that he’s hurled that thing harder than a Verlander fast ball. Wrong time? Obviously, but based on how HORRIBLE the officiating was, it’s kinda justified.

  7. I’m thinking the no call was the right call, and this “slide up” rule needs to be ditched. It was a clean hit. Watt nailed Stafford in the chest. The intent of the rule is to put an end to head hunting, and Watt wasn’t headhunting.

  8. Fact is that this 7 man officiating crew should immediately be taken from consideration for playoff work as punishment for their lack of work done on Thursday. Yes Schwartz is an idiot…..but he truly shouldve never been in that position to throw the challenge flag. 7 guys should never miss a guy laying prone on the ground no matter how quickly he bounces up.

  9. That entire game was missed/bad calls. If players are held accountable so should the refs. Who here can mess up his/her job several times in front of the people paying them and not be fired? It’s weird that the more they try to “protect the shield” the worse it gets.

  10. ilovefootball2525 says:

    “The fix is in. GODdell has predetermined that the Texans will win the Super Bowl.”

    Riiiiight. What’s your proof, genius?

  11. Am I the only one who thinks this is getting ridiculous? I get the penalty thing; I don’t like it, but I get it. But fining a guy for an unintentional helmet-to-helmet contact? It’s absurd. If we’re truly reached this point, then I would say there’s a problem with the game, not the player.

    If football is really so dangerous that even an inadvertent contact like this is worthy of a fine, then why don’t we just *go* there and completely revisit how the game is played. Shoot, we’re halfway there already, with the way these rules are intended to modify on-field play anyway. Maybe professional football should morph into something vaguely resembling women’s lacrosse or something.

  12. Your viewpoint is totally different than most Texan fans. I saw JJ Watt with a fundamentally sound tackle and Matt Stafford lowered his chin into the helmet of JJ Watt in a effort to draw a penalty on the Texans. The officials did a great job of not falling for the flop by Matt Stafford.

  13. The media has made the quarterback position the most sensitive and softest position in sports. Quarterbacks want all of the fame with none of the blame.
    If quarterbacks do not want to get hit then they should grab some poms poms and wear panties under their skirts like the other cheerleaders.

  14. Nick Perry was fined for a hit when his helmet was nowhere near Luck’s Head…

    JJ Watt rips off Rodgers helmet, pops Stafford in the chin…. no fine ?

    I’m confused now.

  15. That wasn’t anything wrong with that hit. These fines and penalties are getting worst every week. You can’t even touch the QB without getting a flag.

  16. I’m a lions fan and I don’t think it was a foul. That being said I also come from watching 80’s football when fans and players were REAL men no whining allowed. Stafford would have played great during that time. You don’t see him complaining. It’s football. This generation is SOFT…

  17. How bad did the Lions get jobbed by the refs in that game? Where the replacement refs went wrong and why they are all out of work right now, is that they did not make sure the teams that were supposed to win did. Coin Flip call there and it was not called. Guy is down and gets up and runs for a touchdown and it is not called. Jobbed.

  18. dalucks yea Stafford thought – while trying to connect a pass “i know I will lower my head while watt is tackling me and maybe get a penalty despite the fact I could have a concussion afterwards” I hope you were joking about your statement. there should have been a penalty on that play I’m not biased, it was a shot to the head. you should be in control of your body at all times

  19. Did Watt lead with the crown of the helmet? No. Did Watt slap Stafford’s head? No. Did Watt go for Stafford’s knees? No. So, apparently the only way to hit a QB anymore is to stop, ask the ref’s permission to hit the QB, and hit the QB precisely in the numbers. This is ridiculous.

  20. as someone who appreciates and has played the game, they should be allowed to play it (sic; football).I’m not saying break necks, but don’t make defensive players second class citizens. They have families too.

  21. If they are gonna fine a great clean defensive player on an accident then they need to fine half of the dirty cheating scumbags for punching players and kicking our QUARTERBACK in the nuts! This is ridiculous to get him and not them too

  22. In the same quarter the refs also missed Watt hitting Stafford helmet to helmet from behind when Stafford was sliding down giving himself up after a running play…if he had hit from from the front, it’d bee a fine and a penalty and maybe an ejection…instead?? NOTHING….the refs were horrible terribly craptastic….the punt/fumble they reviewed and still missed, these two helmet hits, a few egregious holdings and the whopper of them all, the national embarrassment of a missed call on the 8 yard run by Forsett…..unbelievable…..why watch the NFL anymore? It’s unwatchable between the Byzantine rules and criminal officiating

  23. Okay with that not being a penalty, but, if that was the Lions I’m almost certain the yellow flag would have come out and the drive would have continued.

  24. If that is a penalty ( I agree with the guys that say look at the photo) then I guess defenders should remove their heads before making a tackle.

  25. If you get drilled in the chest like that isn’t your head going to snap forward? Stafford’s face mask struck Watt’s helmet due to the chest being impacted.

  26. Have to start ejecting players for those type of hits. Use instant replay to confirm ejections from games so there is no controversy .

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