Posted by Will Brinson
A scary moment occurred Sunday in the Philadelphia - Indianapolis game when Austin Collie took a big shot to the head against the Philadelphia Eagles. Collie caught a pass over the middle of the field and took a big shot from Asante Samuel that launched Collie towards safety Kurt Coleman, who then made helmet-to-helmet contact with Collie, knocking the ball loose (and likely knocking him unconscious) as Collie fell limp to the ground. He lay there for several minutes before being removed; medical personnel rushed immediately to help the fallen Colts' receiver.
Eagles fans reigned boos on the call from the officials for hitting a defenseless receiver, and Samuel leapt around the fallen Collie and the training staff, upset about the flag.
It's a tricky play to make a definite call on, first because Coleman doesn't appear to have any intent to hit Collie with his helmet. Secondly because Samuel's hit on Collie changed Collie's trajectory and therefor the way in which Coleman made contact.
However, one things remains clear -- the NFL's rules dictate that defenders are liable for the contact they make with receivers and that the onus is on the defense to change the way in which they make contact with defenseless receivers. In that sense, the flag is justified, although it's too early to know for sure if Coleman (who makes a little bit more than $350,000) will be fined. Certainly it's going to be the most discussed hit from Sunday.
Although far more important than whether or not the hit was legal and/or called correctly by the officials is vastly outweighed by the hope that Collie isn't seriously injured.
Update (6:05): Bill Polian told the CBS Sports team that Collie is "sitting up and alert" (according to Jim Nance) after suffering a concussion on the hit above, which is fantastic news given how bad the hit looked on the field.
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