Philadelphia Eagles defensive star Haason Reddick, known for his prowess in hunting down quarterbacks, was at the center of a contentious moment during their recent nail-biting 37-34 overtime victory against the Buffalo Bills.
The incident, involving Bills' quarterback Josh Allen, sparked debate but will not be recorded as a conventional defensive statistic. In the dying minutes of the first half, with the game intensifying, Allen found himself in a precarious situation on a second-and-goal.
As he scrambled to evade the Eagles' defense near their 3-yard line, Reddick made a crucial intervention. The tackle, however, was mired in controversy. Reddick appeared to grasp Allen by the front collar and then again near his neck and helmet, leaving visible stretch marks.
This action raised questions about a possible horse-collar tackle. Referee Shawn Hochuli, addressing the media post-game, explained the officials' perspective. He stated that the force applied to Allen's front collar was the primary factor in bringing him down, not a pull from the back.
Thus, no horse-collar tackle was called.
Grounding Call Controversy
Instead, a different penalty overshadowed the moment. The officials flagged Allen for intentional grounding. In an effort to avoid a sack, Allen released the ball.
However, the referees judged that no receiver was close enough, a point of contention for the Bills. Head coach Sean McDermott later pointed out that receiver Gabe Davis was, in his view, in the area. The fallout from this decision was significant.
Rather than gaining a fresh set of downs, the Bills faced a challenging third-down situation, which they could not convert. The subsequent 34-yard field goal attempt by Tyler Bass was blocked by Eagles' rookie Jalen Carter, adding to the Bills' woes.
The game's penalty count further compounded Buffalo's challenges. By halftime, they had accrued 10 penalties compared to the Eagles' single infraction. The final tally stood at 11 penalties for 85 yards for Buffalo, starkly contrasting with Philadelphia's four for 30 yards.
Bills' center Mitch Morse reflected on the game's outcome, suggesting self-inflicted errors played a part. "I think we shot ourselves in the foot," he said, emphasizing the need for introspection and learning from the game's events. Despite the controversy and setbacks, Morse believed these factors should not have been decisive in the game's result.