Scrum Over Loose Football In Third Quarter Turns Physical, Leads To Penalties
LANDOVER, Md. – A fumble by running back Alfred Morris midway through the third quarter of the game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants led to a heated, physical battle for the ball that led to offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties and one player nearly stomping on the chest of another.
Morris gained six yards on a stretch run to the left side of the field with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter when he was stripped just inbounds by Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn. Several Giants players, including Blackburn, defensive end Osi Umenyiora and linebacker Keith Rivers, immediately made a play to recover the ball, which ended up underneath Morris’ legs as he fell onto his back.
Redskins fullback Darrel Young quickly joined the fray, as did left guard Kory Lichtensteiger and center Will Montgomery. Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph tried to help by pulling Montgomery out of the pile by his left leg; Montgomery then kicked Joseph with his right leg, while Joseph lifted his right foot to stop on Montgomery’s ribs before appearing to show restraint before making contact.
Young and Lichtensteiger each took exception to Joseph pulling on Montgomery, and when officials ruled Rivers recovered the ball, Young and Giants defensive tackle Rocky Bernard had to be separated following an argument.
“I was in there trying to get the fumble out and he was grabbing my leg and yanking me out of the pile,” Montgomery said. “I was trying to get my leg loose out of his arms and I guess that’s when he tried to stomp me or something.”
Asked if he felt Joseph’s foot make contact with his chest, Montgomery said Joseph “definitely hit something.”
“No harm, no foul,” Montgomery said. “It was the heat of the moment. I’m not too worried about it.”
Joseph and Lichtensteiger were each called for unnecessary roughness penalties, which offset and left the Giants with possession at their own 15-yard line. They finished the ensuing drive with a 35-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes to take a 16-10 lead; Washington won, 17-16.
Lichtensteiger was confused with the officials’ ruling, especially because the interaction between Montgomery and Joseph happened right in front of back judge Tony Steratore.
“Maybe they called the wrong number or maybe they just happened to see me out of everybody,” Lichtensteiger said. “But I certainly couldn’t be the worst offender in that pile.”