The New England Patriots improved to 10-0 on the season after winning this week’s Monday nighter against the Buffalo Bills but not before legendary quarterback Tom Brady took several solid hits. The most prominent of these came after Brady threw an interception early in the first quarter. After releasing the ball and barely taking one step, he was unceremoniously crunched by Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham, who saw a chance to get a shot and understandably took it. The turnover had already occurred so knocking some penalty yards on after the play and moving the ball back a little would be well worth rattling and possibly injuring this season’s MVP. The only problem was, no penalty was called. By rule, after an interception a player has to have taken two steps toward the ball carrier to be eligible for a hit or block. I’ve long questioned the legality of some of these open field, absolutely bone crunching, career ending, blindside “blocks” on punt returns against players that are 45 yards away from any real action and not even looking. This wasn’t anything like that but it was similarly unnecessary with the big difference being that Tom Brady was not yet eligible to be hit. Before you break out the typical Patriots fan attacks, I want to be clear that I understand completely any Bills player taking that opportunity even knowing you’d get a penalty. It’s worth it at that time of the game. I’m not saying Brady is untouchable. I am saying that in a league where quarterbacks are virtually bubble wrapped by the rules, when there’s even a remote question about the legality of the hit and where he was slow to get up, the officials usually err on the side of caution and throw the flag. Fortunately the interception came back on a different penalty.
Verdict: Tom has to keep his head up, but teams can’t be given freebies like that. It wouldn’t have happened to Aaron Rodgers.