Whenever the Lions and Bears play, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the physicality level will be high enough to warrant a few fines from the NFL office.
This week was no exception, with the Lions and Bears both being disciplined for their play last weekend, according to Spotrac.com’s fines tracker.
Nick Fairley and Willie Young both made their mistakes late, on the game’s final drive. Fairley tossed Bears QB Josh McCown to the ground well after the ball was out, and was fined $15,750 for the late hit.
Realistically, Fairley’s hit wasn’t dangerous at all. He tossed McCown to the ground late, but it wasn’t a slam or an apparent attempt to injure, so presumably the league opted to fine Fairley because the hit was late an unnecessary.
If anything, Fairley might have just been thinking that knocking McCown down would slow down the hurry-up offense the Bears were running at the time. That, or he may not have been thinking at all. The result of the play was a 15-yard penalty and a clock stoppage at the worst possible time.
Things look a little more clear-cut on the Young fine. This one was the reason the Bears got two shots at the end zone on the two-point conversion. McCown rolled out of the pocket, chased by multiple Lions, and sailed a pass high as he got hit. Young went high on McCown and ended up making pretty clear helmet-to-helmet contact. Like Fairley, Young was fined $15,750, the standard fine for most fine-worthy personal fouls.
For the Bears, Charles Tillman was fined $7,875 for his facemask penalty on Calvin Johnson. That play, like the other two, was flagged on the field, but the league obviously thought the act was incidental, hence the smaller fine (yes, history can factor into this as well).
Though while we’re talking about fines for incidental facemasks, it’s worth noting that apparent “player safety” public enemy Ndamukong Suh was also flagged for a facemask on this play.
That play also appeared incidental, and Suh let go of the facemask quickly, so the NFL appears to have left him alone this week. That’s important to point out, considering how it often seems like the NFL fines Suh any chance they get. They had a chance this week, and they didn’t.
So after the 10th week of the NFL season, here’s how the fines have been distributed in Lions games:
Ndamukong Suh — 2 fines/$131,500
Rest of Detroit Lions — 10 fines/$112,375
Detroit Lions Opponents — 2 fines/$23,625
What are your thoughts on this week’s fines? Past decisions aside, do these fines appear fair and even-handed based on game action, or did they miss something?