Tackle the Quarterback, or Risk a Penalty?

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

You knew this was going to happen again.

Last night, a Kansas City Chiefs player pulled out of a tackle in fear of being flagged for roughing the passer, not dissimilar from the way Dolphins’ defensive end William Hayes injured himself a few weeks ago. 

It was 3rd and goal from the Chiefs’ four yard line and Tom Brady was moving down the field looking to put the Patriots ahead.

Pursuing the quarterback from behind, linebacker Breeland Speaks appeared to wrap Brady and then let go of him, allowing a rushing touchdown on the play:

Speaks spoke after the game, explaining that he let up because he felt like he was going to be whistled for a late hit.

From Terez Paylor at Yahoo Sports:

“I thought he threw the ball,” Speaks told Yahoo Sports. “I thought it was gone.”

Even though there was a defensive holding penalty on the play that would have negated the sack — making a Patriots touchdown a high likelihood — Speaks was caught on camera with his head bowed afterward.

“You’ve got to get him down,” Speaks told Yahoo Sports, when asked what he was thinking at that moment on the bench. “Bree, regardless, you’ve just got to take the chance, play football.”

In retrospect, Speaks said he should have finished the play. “It sucks,” Speaks said. “It sucks.”

Yeah, it does suck, because here you’ve got somebody trying to follow the rules and it ends up costing his team. Football is a fast-paced and physical game. The goal is to bring down the quarterback, and you should be able to do it without having to over-think the play, but we’ve planted that seed of doubt in the minds of defenders. It’s no longer natural or instinctual to finish a play; it’s now a risk.

So good job by the NFL in over-correcting here. I guess we got a lot of scoring and an exciting game, if you want to look at it that way. I’d prefer to see defense.

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1 Comment

  • long time caller, first time listener October 15, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    reminds me of Kiwanuka? having Vince Young wrapped up but letting go when he thought he released the ball.

    Reply
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