Posted November 24, 2013

Jason Campbell leaves game after questionable hit from William Gay

AFC North, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Jason Campbell left the Browns’ game against the Steelers with a head injury. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns may have reason to complain after a questionable no-call cost them quarterback Jason Campbell and, eventually, an important seven points in Sunday’s game with Pittsburgh.

The Steelers led 13-3 in the third quarter, in a battle of 4-6 teams just a game out of a wild-card spot, when cornerback William Gay forced a Campbell fumble with a blindside blitz. Will Allen recovered the loose ball and returned it to the Cleveland 4, and Ben Roethlisberger tossed a TD pass from there one play later.

But should Gay have been flagged for a blow to Campbell’s head? The Steelers’ corner definitely appeared to strike Campbell’s face mask with his left hand as he swooped in for the sack. Gay briefly wrapped his arm up around Campbell’s shoulder pad/neck area, which, as we saw on Ahmad Brooks’ controversial penalty against Drew Brees last week, is forbidden by NFL rules.

Below is a video of the play from Sunday’s game. You’ll notice on the shot below Gay’s hand striking Campbell’s face mask just prior to the ball popping loose.

Campbell stayed down for a few second after the hit and had to be carted to the locker room with a head injury. Brandon Weeden replaced him at QB for the second time in the game — earlier, Campbell left with an undisclosed injury after taking a hit while scrambling to throw the ball away. 

Gay cemented a Pittsburgh win late in the fourth quarter by picking off a pass from Weeden and returning it for a touchdown.


Contact to the head looked to be incidental, but less aggressive incidental hits that involved head contact have been flagged and fined.  I think the unfortunate reality of this is Jason Campbell had the misfortune of being on the Cleveland Browns and not at the level of an elite quarterback.  A team that has a more realistic chance at being in the playoff hunt?  Flag without a doubt.  Campbell being a player that the Browns absolutely, positively could not win another game without?  Flag without a doubt.

That's just the NFL:  if it has the potential to cost them money, they're going to punish the offending team in a heartbeat.  This?  They'll debate a fine, but that's about it.


Hell yes it was a cheap shot to the head.

Look at the replay. You can see his head move with the hit. Mot saying it was intentional, but a penalty should have been called and a fine should be levied.