Posted November 19, 2013

First Down/Fourth Down: Ahmad Brooks bemoans critical penalty call against Drew Brees

AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, First Down/Fourth Down, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
Ahmad Brooks (left) called the penalty on Drew Brees 'b.s.,' saying it cost the 49ers the game

Ahmad Brooks (left) called the penalty on Drew Brees ‘b.s.,’ saying it cost the 49ers the game. (Dave Martin/AP)

There were 123 offensive plays run in Sunday’s 49ers-Saints game. San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks felt that the game’s outcome was decided on No. 110.

With less than four minutes left and the 49ers clinging to a three-point lead, Brooks sacked Drew Brees and forced a fumble, which the 49ers recovered near midfield. But Brooks was flagged for his high tackle of Drew Brees — referee Tony Corrente ruled that Brooks had delivered a forceful blow to Brees’ neck on what essentially was a clothesline tackle.

Replays were rather inconclusive. Brees’ head definitely snapped back when Brooks made his hit, but Brooks’ arm looked like it may have landed across Brees’ shoulders.

“I felt like I hit him with my chest, like I basically bear-hugged him kind of hard,” Brooks said, according to CSNBayArea.com. “I’m going full speed and he [Brees] is going full speed. And at the last second, he ducked his shoulder. So I don’t think I could’ve done anything differently.”

The resulting 15-yard penalty returned the football to New Orleans, which then kicked the tying field goal. The Saints came up with a stop on the 49ers’ next possession (after Colin Kaepernick narrowly avoided a safety on intentional grounding) and went on to win 23-20, on a last-second field goal.

Because of the eventual outcome, the penalty on Brooks might hold long-lasting ramifications in the NFC. Rather than cement their spot in the conference’s top six, the 49ers fell to 6-4, tied with the Cardinals and Bears for the final wild-card spot. They’re also now 3.5 games back of NFC West-leading Seattle, a deficit that looks insurmountable.

On the other side, New Orleans received a boost. Had San Francisco kept that turnover and run out the clock, the Saints would have taken their third loss, matching the number second-place Carolina has heading into Monday night.

“It was b.s., man. It was a b.s. call to me,” Brooks told The Sacramento Bee‘s Matt Barrows. “That was the game, basically.”

More of the best and worst from Sunday’s action:

First Down: Bobby Rainey and Rashad Jennings.

The Raiders’ Jennings was on the NFL’s radar, at least, heading into 2013. Not so much for Rainey.

But it was Rainey, an undrafted prospect in 2012 who’s already on his third NFL team, who led the league in rushing for Week 11 (pending Monday’s stats). He rolled through the Falcons for 163 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 30 carries, as part of the Buccaneers’ second consecutive victory.

Jennings was not all that far behind. In helping the Raiders score a road win in Houston — a win which moved Oakland within a game of a playoff spot — Jennings backed rookie starting QB Matt McGloin with a 150-yard effort. The majority of that total came on an 80-yard TD run in the third quarter — the Raiders took a 28-17 lead there on their way to a 28-23 win.

MORE COVERAGE: Week 11 Snaps | Fake FG bites Lions | McGloin tops among rookie QBs

Fourth Down: Washington before the fourth quarter against Philadelphia.

Washington has been a second-half team all year, but it takes that label to extremes against the Eagles. In the team’s first meeting back in Week 1, Washington trailed 33-14 after three quarters, before rallying with 13 unanswered points in the fourth to push Philadelphia to the brink.

History repeated itself Sunday. The Eagles held a commanding 24-0 edge headed into the final stanza, only to watch Washington storm back with a pair of Robert Griffin III touchdown passes and two two-point conversions. The Redskins actually had the ball in Philadelphia’s red zone with a chance to tie late, until Griffin fired an interception.

Flip those two game results in the Redskins’ favor and they would be 5-5, tied for first in the NFC East.

First Down: Michael Floyd.

Are the Arizona Cardinals a playoff team? They’re right in the mix after Week 11, tied for a wild-card spot in the NFC thanks to three straight wins.

Floyd was one of the heroes in their latest triumph, 27-14 over Jacksonville. He tallied a game-high 193 yards — part of Carson Palmer’s first 400-yard passing performance since Week 9 last season, when he played for Oakland — and hauled in a 91-yard TD, the longest scoring pass play of the NFL season to date. Floyd has emerged as more than a complement to Larry Fitzgerald; he’s actually outpacing Fitzgerald by more than 100 yards receiving (657 to 554).

Fourth Down: Geno Smith.

The Jets continued their season-long string of alternating wins and losses, and Smith remained just as consistently inconsistent. He completed only eight passes Sunday but threw three interceptions in a 37-14 loss to Buffalo. That’s actually the second straight game in which Smith has been held to eight completions — he was just 8-of-19 in the Jets’ Week 9 upset of New Orleans.

First Down: Denver’s offensive line.

Chalk some (maybe most) of this up to Peyton Manning’s ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly. But up against a Chiefs defense that entered Week 11 leading the league in sacks, the Broncos coughed up zero. Rarely even did Manning have to move from his comfortable spot in the pocket to adjust his throws, especially in the first three quarters.

The Kansas City defense still held Denver to a season-low 27 points. But without that constant QB pressure, the Chiefs’ ability to force turnovers was neutralized — Denver’s lone miscue came on a botched handoff between Manning and Montee Ball.

Kansas City will have to be much better in Week 13, when Manning and the Broncos head to Arrowhead for the rematch.

Fourth Down: The Lions’ fake field goal.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said his team wasn’t going to play scared. OK, well, how about a little smarter?

Up four in the rain and wind at Pittsburgh, Schwartz called for a fake field goal from the Steelers’ 10 in the fourth quarter Sunday. It failed, Pittsburgh marched 97 yards for a touchdown on its next possession and the Lions never saw the lead again. On the road, in sloppy weather conditions, and with an offense that was suddenly struggling, Schwartz needed the three there.

First Down: David Bass.

Even though their once 10-0 lead had dwindled to 10-3, the Ravens appeared to have navigated Sunday’s lengthy weather delay to keep control of their game with Chicago. And then Bass avoided a cut block attempt by Ray Rice, made a leaping interception of a Joe Flacco pass and housed it to tie the game. The Ravens did grab the lead again later in the second quarter, but Bass’ play woke up what to that point had been a somewhat lethargic Chicago team.

A tip of the cap to Jason Pierre-Paul, as well. His pick-six dropped the hammer in the Giants’ 27-13 win over Green Bay.

Fourth Down: Adrian Peterson’s health.

Early in the third quarter, when they were still very much in their game with the Seahawks, the Vikings threw a pass to John Carlson on a 3rd-and-1. The play lost a yard, and if it wasn’t obvious before then that Adrian Peterson was less than 100 percent, that call proved it.

“He is not 100 percent. That groin is bothering him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “There were a couple of moments when he was so close to breaking it and just couldn’t get that one key ingredient to get it going, but no, he is not 100 percent.”

Peterson needed 21 carries to get to 65 yards rushing — two fewer than what Toby Gerhart cranked out on seven attempts.

First Down: Everyone in AFC wild-card chase.

Well, everyone except for Houston and Jacksonville. The other 14 teams in the AFC are still very much alive for the postseason, with eight teams either at 5-5 or 4-6 and the Bills at 4-7. The Jets still have a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot with their .500 record, but the Dolphins matched them at 5-5 on Sunday.

Oakland, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and San Diego (in that order, by tiebreakers) all lurk a mere one game back. The last six weeks will be wild in that conference.

Fourth Down: Houston’s QB situation.

The Texans trailed 28-17 Sunday when Gary Kubiak made the (very unpopular decision) to pull Case Keenum in favor of former starting QB Matt Schaub. The home crowd was on Schaub ruthlessly from the start, even though his stats (12-of-25 for 155 yards) were not all that far off from Keenum’s (13-of-24 for 170 yards, one TD, one INT).

The larger argument, though, is that Keenum might be a part of the Texans’ future — this season is long gone at 2-8 — Schaub almost certainly is not.

And the booing only made a difficult situation worse. Soon-to-be-free-agent RB Ben Tate, to the Houston Chronicle:

“These fans here in Houston are so up and down and so wishy-washy. I’m just shocked at that because this organization has come a long way. … I just feel like if you’re a true fan, you stick with the team through the tough times and we’re going through a tough time right now.”

56 comments
DebbyLuv
DebbyLuv

How about when the Saints loss on the last play with New England and the Patriots won in the last 3 secs. The Patriots had three specific holding calls holding the Saints from sacking Brady.  The Saints had that game won, and on the last play had they called holding, there was no time left, the game should have been over, and nobody who seen the game could not say there was not holding, when there were three of the Pats holding as clear as day.  But the 49ers game, everyone thinks the referees cheated for the Saints by calling that personal file on Ahmad Brooks, well it should have been called because lucky Brees is so tough that he didn't get hurt, but any other QB probably would have been put out for the entire season.  The Saints are tough and we stand strong in our beliefs that they will win the SuperBowl this year.  SAINTS LOVER FOREVER--- WHO DAT-- WE DAT THAT'S WHO!!!

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Lots of people saying "I'm not a Niners fan, but that was a clean hit!"

I wonder how you all would feel if your own quarterback got nailed that way.

James160
James160

Horrible call. It was a textbook, head up, tackle with Brooks' arm across Brees' shoulder pads. I'm all for player safety, but when a defensive player executes a play in the manner the NFL promotes, and then gets flagged for it? That's ridiculous. And then Brees, 'The hit was too hard and I knew it just must've been illegal,' was just about the lamest thing I've ever heard. You play in the NFL, Drew Brees, if you don't like how hard they hit, maybe you should consider another profession. Talk about being a cry baby. "He hit me too hard, coach!"

CaliKid
CaliKid

Anyone who says thats an illegal hit never played a snap of football in their life.

You can even see Brees' neck in that still picture. Brees is under 6 ft tall. Brooks is 6'3 250 lbs. The collision was bad and thats the reason why the Refs called the penalty which is really b.s. The ref was behind both of them so how can he even say its a neck tackle. 

You can't hit a QB "hard" anymore or its a penalty. 

Really bad way to end a really good game. Brees complaining how hard the hit was made him sound softer than Johathan Martin. 

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

The call against the 49ers was correct.  Nobody with any sense tackles that way.

All of the discussion and agonizing and explanations and parsing of technicalities mean that the hit was wrong, period.  Niners fans just don't want to admit it.  


unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

That is a call that only 4 QB's get. Brady, Manning, Rogers and Brees. 


jbc123
jbc123

I'm not a fan of either team, and didn't have any action on the game. That said, he clearly did not hit him in either the neck or head. The impact was across the front of the shoulder pads, the guy was so damm strong and so much bigger than  Brees, that it looked  illegal. One of the officials in front of the play should have told the Referee (who was behind the play) that the play was legal. Real crap way to lose a great game.

donald5
donald5

I saw a few offensive holds on both teams that would have nullified 3rd down conversions and they went on to score.  Those are just as big of a missed/no call as the hit on Brees  They have just as big of an impact on the final score.  3/7 points or a punt... pretty big swing.  The problem is there are not 5 cameras focused on the hands of an offensive lineman.  

rjmoore12
rjmoore12

Brooks----waa waa waa waa.  Your team lost for half a dozen other reasons.  Grow up.

Keith Brosnan
Keith Brosnan

Chris Burke writes the  replay was "inconclusive"...What WAS conclusive was the blood coming out of Brees' mouth following that "inconclusive" hit; but I guess a lot of people bleed from the mouth after a (as Brooks put it) bear hug around the shoulders. This should not even be a story, hit was dirty, called correctly on the field, San Fran got the ball back in a tied game and did nothing. Better luck next year. 


pk_sea
pk_sea

It's Brees' fault for being so short. 

PhilRidge
PhilRidge

They got away with one on the uncalled intentional grounding that should have been a safety.... no sour grapes though. Let's say they cancel each other out. 

I'll just say this, and this is what I said after the Saints lost to New England: If you have to rely on one call going your way to win the game, you didn't play good enough. Less than 200 total offensive yards tell the tale.

FletcherValentine
FletcherValentine

http://t.co/5lrJF84teB 

Simply put it just depends on who is getting hit .... Brady, Brees and Peyton have a no contact rule while the other QB's can get that wood laid on them.


LeonardoZapata
LeonardoZapata

I'm not a 49er fan but the call on brooks looks like it was made in Las Vegas

ScottF2
ScottF2

@MidwestGolfFan I would not like it but that doesn't change the fact that it would have been a legal hit.

RobReinhart
RobReinhart

@James160 His shoulder pads hit Brees in the head, that's one. arm around the neck, two and he threw him by the chin head first into the ground,  three. Brooks is lucky he didn't get ejected!

JuanMiguelGuevara
JuanMiguelGuevara

@CaliKid You have no idea what you're talking about.  It wasnt the initial contact, it was the follow through that was illegal.  Brooks grabbed Brees' head and threw him to the turf.  I was there, I saw it.  Look at the picture I linked.  There is a better angle where Brooks actually twists Brees' head at a weird angle.  Had Brooks just tackled Brees, it would have been clean, but the full scope of contact (that media outlets refuse to show for some reason) shows a different story.
http://i1292.photobucket.com/albums/b568/imgeuvar/Breesdestroyed_zps5d962120.jpg

DebbyLuv
DebbyLuv

@MidwestGolfFan 

You are right.  It seems like a bounty hit to me, or are the Saints the only ones who were ever charged with bounty hits?  Hmmmm.

squidbro
squidbro

@MidwestGolfFan  

Hey the hit was legit.

Brees is a midget by NFL QB standards and took the hit above the chest because he has a small stature, not Brooks fault that Brees is short.

Brooks has a very legit claim, sorry to hear you do not want to have defensive players be allowed to make plays, sad. This kind of home-boy call shows badly on the NFL referees and standards of play. A penalty in New Orleans should be the same as a penalty in San Francisco, but in this case, it was NOT. Leading to a win for NO. Who cares, NO is not going anywhere in the playoffs anyway.

 

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

@MidwestGolfFan  It's a game of high speed collisions.  The defender is trying to hit the QB before he can throw it, and before the O lineman can stop him.  The game doesn't happen in slow motion.  There is no way for the defender to predict how the QB is going to duck at the last second.

I'm not a Niners fan.

 If that is a penalty, it means it is illegal to hit the QB hard.  There is no legal way to do it.  And I guess that is what the NFL wants, no more hard hits on the QB.


squidbro
squidbro

@rjmoore12  

Eat crap - you are not a football fan if this is your attitude.

mike202
mike202

@rjmoore12    Now you know what Seattle has to put up with from the Whiner Nation.

RyanWI
RyanWI

@rjmoore12 I think the 9ers are starting to take on the personality of their coach.   I've never seen such crying and whining in football.

anon76
anon76

@Keith Brosnan 

Players bleed all the time from busted lips without it being considered a "dirty" hit- it's not like he had internal bleeding from a throat injury.  I absolutely hate helmet-to-hemet (or really helmet-to-anything) hits, and I'm fine with protecting the QB's legs or defenseless players.  But to me that looked like a hit to the chest, and I completely disagree with the call and result.

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

@FletcherValentine  

True!  

Last year Wilson got hit at least twice after sliding, and there were no flags.  Unknowns and rookies and non super stars do not get the calls that Brees, Manning, Brady and Rogers get.

BiffLudwig
BiffLudwig

@FletcherValentine Brees was in the pocket trying to pass, Kap was outside the pocket running. Has nothing to do with who is being hit.

James160
James160

@RobReinhart Lucky you don't get ejected from this comment thread with such an incredibly bad interpretation of the play!

johnvas49
johnvas49

@JuanMiguelGuevara @CaliKid Brooks is grabbing his shoulder pad and Brees' face mask is against his forearm.  That whole sack took less than a second from first contact to when they both went to the ground.  It all happened in basically one motion and there was no time for all this extra stuff to happen that you claimed happened.  Initial contact was with the shoulder pads, as Brees started to fall, the arm crept up around the neck.  It's hard to control that.  The penalty should be for where the initial contact was made.  This is not a penalty.

MattQuinn
MattQuinn

@JuanMiguelGuevara @CaliKid I was at that game too... Drew Brees was cleanly hit, and they wanted to keep the 70,000 saints fans happy and gave them the game. There were polls that showed only the states of Mississippi and Louisiana said that was a penalty, yet every other state, regardless of whos team it is, said it was clean. The fact that so many people said they would pay his fines is astounding, and should show you how even the team that actually beat them in the superbowl could tell it was a bad call

DebbyLuv
DebbyLuv

@squidbro @MidwestGolfFan 

Honey, the Saints are going all the way this year-- Sorry to disappoint you.

WHO DAT SAY DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS!!!  YEAH BABY

Saints fan forever here.  Don't you love it?

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@squidbro @MidwestGolfFan  

To paraphrase:

The defensive player has no obligation to be careful where he hits Brees near the head/neck, because Brees is, in your words, a "shrimp."

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@unitcaptain11 @MidwestGolfFan  

And hitting him near the head, on the bottom of his neck, "just happens."

And if the D-lineman had killed him (he was very close to the most vulnerable part of the neck), well...just part of the game.

squidbro
squidbro

@RyanWI @rjmoore12  

Ryan,

It is legit to ask whether the personal foul penalty was legitimate, or not.

You seem to suggest that there is no room for a controversial call in sports, which effectively indicates you have crap for brains. Thanks, dumb and dumber.

robertdwight13
robertdwight13

That picture doesn't show squat.  Look at the film, this time use your glasses.

anon76
anon76

@BiffLudwig

It's obvious from a million different camera angles that Brees was never hit in the head (the refs didn't even say head, they said 'neck' and I think they were wrong).  He also wasn't thrown down by his head in any way, shape, or form, but rather knocked down from the blow to his frontside.

squidbro
squidbro

@JuanMiguelGuevara @robertdwight13 @CaliKid  

Your photo evidence does not show what you assert.

Crappy home-boy call on Brooks who made a legitimate hit and you are trying to convince people there was a foul with non-existent evidence. You are an arrogant fool.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@robertdwight13 @MidwestGolfFan  

Implied threat of physical violence against me because I dare disagree with you.  Nice.

You've appeared out of nowhere, making less than a dozen posts, all of them supporting Brooks and savagely condemning anyone who disagrees.

Is Brooks paying you, or do you just have a thuggish agenda?

godfather361
godfather361

@anon76 @BiffLudwig I'm not a biased fan as my team wasn't in this game and my team isn't in one of these teams divisions. That being said, when he's hit, doesn't his shoulder pad hit Brees' head? I could be wrong, but I think it did. Also, the rule states the head and neck area in which that is a general vicinity. So technically, that was the correct call as dumb as it is.