There were 28 penalties Thursday night, but none for lowering the helmet

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Penalties for violations of the league’s new rules governing the use of the helmet dropped in the last two weeks of the preseason after the NFL clarified that inadvertent contact should not result in a flag.

That trend continued in Thursday night’s opener. Officials were not at all shy about calling penalties as there were 26 accepted penalties and two calls that offset, but none of them were for a player lowering his helmet to initiate contact.

It’s one game and the 15 to come on Sunday and Monday might bring a different result, but the change made in August may have alleviated some of the concern about how much the game would change because of the rule change.

While the new helmet rule did not come up, a new part of the roughing the passer rule did get called. Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was flagged for landing his body weight on Nick Foles after Foles delivered a pass in the first half.

54 responses to “There were 28 penalties Thursday night, but none for lowering the helmet

  1. The penalties were a combination of sloppy play, terrible rules, and ref incompetence. The game was practically unwatchable for me last night. There were almost as many penalties as combined points between the 2 teams! I am not ok with this. The refs and the league need to chill out. If this is a sign of things to come I will quit watching. Too frustrating

  2. I can’t believe how quick I forgot 90% of the games last year were identical to this……unwatchable.

    Recap: flag, flag, commercial, flag, flag, commercial, flag, commercial. #Repeat

    If fantasy football wasn’t a thing the NFL would be in serious trouble.

  3. I did not watch this game… just the highlights this morning.
    It is abundantly clear that American football is, essentially, a very flawed game.
    The violent collisions and narrative make it attractive to consumers. But now that it is overexposed, over analyzed, and, like all else in our current culture, transparently obvious in its agenda, the game itself will have to evolve or die. The folks who run the NFL already know that. They are rushing to make American football global while trying to preserve the very game itself. They are trying to beat time. Guess who wins that battle.

  4. One of the worst officiated games I have watched in years. I sure hope this isn’t what is to come with the game of football now.

  5. Honestly I turned the game off. All those flags were brutal. I don’t think they were favoring one team or the other but it just made it hard to watch. That landing with your weight penalty is going to be worse than the helmet rule. Dumbest penalty ever. I get the feeling I’ll be turning a lot of games off this year.

  6. This is a good thing? To have a 4 hour game that is a bad product and then have a flag on almost every play with Collinsworth over-selling the ticky tack calls to the viewer to insult them, with everyone knowing the calls are ticky tack at best, many of them perfectly timed on 3rd downs.

  7. ongogablogian says:
    September 7, 2018 at 8:23 am
    More talk needed about the absurdly high 26 penalties than the lack of lowering helmet flags. Atrocious.
    //////////////
    The thing is though, just about every one of those was actually a penalty. Both of those teams were brutal. How hard is it to not line up offsides?! I counted 2-3 bad to iffy penalties. Game was boring until the end, wherein Matt Ryan apparently thinks the field is bigger than it is since he just launches balls out of the end zone.

  8. Way too many penalties last night. Especially after a long rain delay. Driving a QB directly into the ground after they pass the ball is not a penalty I’m concerned about though. There’s little reason to do it most times and can cause unnecessary injuries to the game’s most important position.

  9. Your defense of this league is getting tiresome. The real problem is not the helmet rule. It’s the new quarterback rule. I’ve been saying it for over a month that this rule would have more impact than any other rule ever conceived. It’s a horrific rule designed to punish defenses.

    And yesterday’s game was horrible. Horrible!

  10. There’s no secret to why all these penalties are ruining the game:
    1. Players don’t practice enough anymore. Two-a-days are history and so is live tackling in practice many times. I believe conditioning is a factor in sloppy play. I heard a former player say yesterday he visited training camps in pre-season and he was shocked to see them not doing running drills as the last thing they do in practice. He said when he played they’d always do those at the end of practice. Throw in that starters are not playing at all in pre-season games and this is the result.
    2. The rule book is way too thick. Everyone blames the officials, but think how you’d feel if you were one of them under all the scrutiny they are under and with so many rules which are open to interpretation because no one understands them!
    3. Instant replay. I liked it way back in the 70’s when it was first used, but now it’s gotten ridiculous. If I am an official today, I will always have it in the back of mind that if I see something that’s border line, I better throw a flag because the guys in the tv booth will show the replay several times and point out how I missed the penalty. So I’d rather get criticized for calling a penalty that didn’t happen than the other way around, as long as I keep the number of penalties for each time pretty close. Because if I don’t throw the flag on one that replay shows should have been a flag, the announcers will usually say I’m “letting them play”.

  11. We all can agree this game has drastically changed over the last five years, but I believe last night showed this is the season where the new rules will have a major effect on viewership. Blowing the play dead after a QB is wrapped up? Can’t put your body weight on a QB while falling to the ground? No leading with the helmet even if contact isn’t above the neck? 20-25 penalties per game is going to be the new norm.

    We’re constantly focusing on the anthem protests in terms of decrease in viewers, but in my opinion the way the game has changed over the past few years has really turned a lot of fans off. Myself included.

  12. What? Only 28? I tuned in right before the end of the first half just in time for a commercial and then it seemed like for the rest of the half there was a penalty on nearly every play (along with more commercials). Although I’ve been a lifelong fan I think professional football is getting more boring than baseball. I don’t know when the last time was that I had the patience to sit through a whole game. Mostly, I just wait and read about them when they are over.

  13. when starters dont play in the preseason you get games like last night. players so rusty that numerous flags occurred as well as poor execution.

  14. The lack of Lowering-the-Helmet is still NOT the story here, PFT.

    That refereeing all in all was AWFUL! It’s as simple as that.

  15. I turned off this game after the 3rd roughing the passer penalty of the first half. Only 1 month left until hockey season….at least the powers that be allow those guys to still be men.

  16. edukator44 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 9:35 am
    when starters dont play in the preseason you get games like last night. players so rusty that numerous flags occurred as well as poor execution.

    ——————————————————————————

    the new roughing the passer rules defy physics. nothing to do with rust. remember school yard football when you’d do jumping jacks and count “five Mississippi” before rushing the QB? this is the direction to which we are rapidly headed

  17. As usual, everyone’s whining about yersterday’s officiating. Yet most of them were justified when many of them were dead-ball fouls (false starts, offsides, etc.) Seriously, McKinley committed TWO offsides on the SAME drive!

  18. puzio20 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 9:29 am
    Blowing the play dead after a QB is wrapped up? Can’t put your body weight on a QB while falling to the ground? No leading with the helmet even if contact isn’t above the neck? 20-25 penalties per game is going to be the new norm.
    //////////////
    Almost all of those penalties were actually penalties, by two teams that played an ugly game. I put way more blame on the teams than I do on the refs. Clipping? Illegal contact? Holding? Pass interference? Offsides? Facemask? False Start?

    All of those were very easy calls for the refs to make.

  19. touchdownbrother says:
    September 7, 2018 at 9:22 am
    Penalties, the number one reason, in my opinion, that that ratings are down in the NFL. The officials should be an afterthought not a primary player.
    /////////
    Perhaps the players should focus more then, and stop committing so many penalties. The roughing the QB calls were pretty poor, but it is the rule. And, when QB’s are starting to sign $27-30 mil per year contracts, you’re damn right the NFL should protect them.

  20. I was waiting for the first catch “challenge” to get dissected like it did last year to determine if it wiggled ever so slightly in the mitts of a receiver rather than just say “it’s inconclusive so we can’t overturn the call on the field”. But hey, the first one they got it right, they didn’t try to create reasons to overturn it. Not sure what happened on Julio catch later on, I had dozed off and missed real time action. The NFL needs to keep a close eye on the college games because they actually have a better system in place for reviews and the targeting call. NFL is overthinking things.

  21. tinye67 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 8:17 am
    The game was close to unwatchable
    //////////
    But why do YOU think that is? You are correct, but most here are blaming the officials. I saw two sloppy teams that couldn’t get out of their own way. How hard is it really to not line up offsides? Is it that hard to not clip a lineman that is not facing you? If a WR is about to run by you and you grab him, then expect a flag. If you run out of bounds on your own on a punt, get back inbounds!!

  22. There was one particular play that Collinsworth (a WR himself at one time) felt a flag should be thrown on a pass downfield to an Eagles receiver, but in several instant replay angles, the receiver is making just as much of the contact as the defender. You can’t ignore the interference by the offense and call a penalty on the defense. It was a good no call, Chris! One of the only plays the officials didn’t throw a flag. Brutal.

  23. nyneal says:
    September 7, 2018 at 9:28 am

    3. Instant replay. I liked it way back in the 70’s when it was first used, but now it’s gotten ridiculous.

    ————-

    Ummmm…..it was not introduced in the NFL until 1986….

  24. The QB rule is absolutely the right call.

    If the QB already released the ball, the defender should not be allowed a free, cheap shot at him. If Foles was still holding the ball, that tackle would have been just another sack with no penalty. But Jarrett was two steps LATE getting there.

    And don’t give me that junk that players don’t have time to ease off the tackle. These are highly tuned athletes making millions of dollars BECAUSE they can make extrodinary moves with their body in a split second.

    Point is, if defense wanted to make a legal, bone-crushing tackle, get to the QB before he throws.

  25. What was the play of the game? Penalties, that’s what.

    Too many penalties.
    Too many ref conferences.
    The players were all pathetically tired.
    Grady’s penalty was idiotic.
    Jones’ non-catch was idiotic.

    I basically watched the whole game in fast forward. Something just isn’t right with the NFL.

  26. . says:
    September 7, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I did not watch this game… just the highlights this morning.
    ——————–

    Were there any?

  27. cheapseater says:
    September 7, 2018 at 8:22 am
    Landing your body weight on someone after a tackle is the most natural action conceivable.

    ——————————————————————————

    it is completely insane that a 300lbs man is expected to make a split second decision that also defies physics. what is even more crazy, is that the players (QBs) who are most protected and will inevitably suffer the least amount of physical damage, are the ones making the most obscene amounts of money.

  28. “There were 28 penalties Thursday night, but none for lowering the helmet”

    And there were also ZERO, ZILCH, NOTTA one big hit, NOT ONE! SO if nothing else the NFL has moved this game one step closer to Flag football, it looked like the players were scared to get a flag thrown on them so they held up on making a lot of hits, SAD, SAD, SAD!!! If the games continue to look like this I’m done with the NFL, I’ll just watch college where the players aren’t too scared to tag someone!

    OH and PS, to all those complaining about the penalties don’t blame the refs, if the players didn’t committ the fouls the refs couldn’t call all those penalties, simple as that. Maybe it’s the coaching, not the refs, HMMMMMMMM!

  29. Jack Ely Mostly, I just wait and read about them when they are over.

    I record them and FF through all the trash and commercials and I can watch a whole game in less than 45mins so three games on a Sunday takes up a little over 2hrs of my time vs >10hrs to watch it live and I don’t miss a thing!

  30. akira1971 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 10:26 am
    The QB rule is absolutely the right call.

    Point is, if defense wanted to make a legal, bone-crushing tackle, get to the QB before he throws.
    ____________

    Ok, then explain the SACK of Cody Kessler by Antwione Williams which flagged and also fined? By the way, a SACK happens before the QB throws the football, genius.

  31. That roughing the passer was so bad. That isn’t a head injury thing. There was no need to change that. Garbage.

  32. I love how they are trying to make it sound like the penalties were helping the Eagles out when if it weren’t for BS penalties against the Eagles that kept all of the Falcons scoring drives alive and all of the obvious calls that didn’t get called against the Falcons. In the 4th quarter,It seemed like plays would be watched until the whistle blew then once the official saw that either A. The Eagles had a positive play or B. The Falcons failed to get a first down or into the endzone, then he’d throw the flag after the play was already over and call a bs penalty against the Eagles. It wasn’t the whole officiating crew, it was one official. They must of had at least 5-10 talks with him after a penalty that he had called because even they knew it was BS.

  33. Football fan for 15 years and what we watched yesterday is the reason I am not watching as much and not bothering attending games these days.

    The penalties are only going up because the NFL wants to combat the defenses getting the edge. How is the Jones catch not a catch? I thought they were fixing that? Instead they are fixing games

  34. “The refs and the league need to chill out.”

    No if a player commits a penalty, it should be called.

  35. If most of the penalties were dead ball fouls (false starts/offsides) then please explain why the plays weren’t whistled dead. Also please explain why the flag didn’t get thrown out onto the field until after the play was already over and also please explain why it was always the same official that was usually the farthest away from where the “penalty” was committed. How’d he see the “penalty” but the line officials whos only job are to basically watch the line of scrimmage/ watch the offensive and defensive line wouldn’t call it? I guess the 2 officials whose only job is that kind of stuff don’t know their own job better than him. Smh

  36. All I know is I turned it off halfway through the first half because I was already sick of the flags. They got up to 28 (accepted), eh?

    Wow – very glad I tuned out.

    Think I’ll skip Sunday’s games as well. It’ll likely just be more of the same. Flags and commercials. I’ll tune into the Lions on Monday night but…I’ll probably check out again if it’s a flag fest (which it will be).

    Thanks for the memories, NFL. Good luck on your transformation into the NBA.

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