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Friday, October 10, 2008
No fines for hits on Hasselbeck, Warner

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Bills' Trent Edwards wasn't the only NFL quarterback to take a hard hit during Week 5. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck and Arizona's Kurt Warner also absorbed punishment. While the league fined the Cardinals' Adrian Wilson for knocking out Edwards, the hits on Hasselbeck and Warner did not draw punishment.

Hasselbeck was dropping back to pass when the Giants' Justin Tuck hit him in the knee. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren raised the possibility of a penalty, which was not called:

"The young man who [hit him], he's really a good player and a good kid. He's a high-effort guy. The problem with the play as far as we were concerned was he got hit from both sides, and we shouldn't have let that happen. I think the league has made every effort to protect the quarterbacks and I think it's the right thing to do, with their rules and so on.

"The question then -- I asked the official because I didn't see the play, I was looking downfield -- the question that has to be the one focused on is: You can't hit the quarterback low like that. That's a foul, unless the player was blocked into the quarterback. If he was blocked into the quarterback, then it's not. And when you look at the play, that's really what you have to decide. It's pretty hard to decide."

The hit on Warner seemed a little more borderline. The Bills' Kawika Mitchell slammed into Warner with a hit to the chin. I just watched the play again. Warner had just throw the ball when Mitchell's helmet struck Warner in the chin. Warner suffered a cut, bled rather profusely and was obviously hurting. There was no flag on the play and no fine.

Also on the non-fine front: While referee Mike Carey and crew penalized Justin Smith for allegedly grabbing Matt Cassel's helmet in Week 5, the league did not fine Smith. Niners coach Mike Nolan seemed perplexed by the call, which turned a 3-yard sack on third-and-6 into a first-and-goal with 14 seconds left before halftime. The Patriots scored a touchdown two plays later, taking a 17-14 lead and the momentum into halftime. Finally, the league did not fine Seattle corner Josh Wilson for his hit on Giants receiver Domenik Hixon.