DeAndre Hopkins questions critical penalty on Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons
The decision was not a good one by Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
With 56 seconds left in a tie game and the New England Patriots holding the ball on their own 32-yard line, Cam Newton converted on a critical first down with a scramble on 3rd-and-13 for 14 yards.
Newton was well on his way out of bounds when Simmons came into the picture, hitting Newton hard while the veteran quarterback still had a foot inbounds.
What a hit by Isaiah Simmons on Cam Newton. Helmet contact.
Obviously drew a flag.pic.twitter.com/zW4TN9y1c0
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 29, 2020
Simmons was flagged for a personal foul, giving the Patriots 15 more yards and placing them in field goal range.
Nick Folk converted from 50 yards out as time expired and the Cardinals lost 20-17.
The referee’s announcement of the flag didn’t clarify the reasoning for the personal foul, as Newton is clearly inbounds if it was for a late hit. The argument for helmet-to-helmet contact, though, is there.
The penalty in the gamebook was listed as unnecessary roughness.
Rookie mistake by #AZCardinals ILB Isaiah Simmons and it puts #Patriots in better position to get into field goal range for the win.
Final: Patriots 20, Cardinals 17.
Zane Gonzalez also missed a 45-yarder. pic.twitter.com/JVybpsFTmW
— Mason Kern (@MasonKernMedia) November 29, 2020
FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira settled the debate, clarifying that Simmons didn’t lead with his helmet, so the helmet-to-helmet argument isn’t there, either.
Lots of chatter on Twitter about the hit on Newton. I get it. It was a bit hit and looked like a foul but, it wasn’t. Newton was inbounds and Simmons did not lead with his helmet. It was more shoulder to shoulder with maybe incidental contact with the helmet. Not a foul.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 29, 2020
Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins agreed, taking to Twitter to question the official’s decision before deleting the tweet.
The Cardinals are now 6-5 on the season.