Haloti Ngata flagged for controversial penalty on Robert Griffin III

Sunday December 9th, 2012

The last thing a battered Ravens defense needs is Robert Griffin III receiving any undue help from the officials Sunday. But that's what seemed to occur on a key first-quarter play.

On a 2nd-and-13 from the Washington 45, Griffin threw the ball away under pressure, drawing an intentional grounding flag. However, that penalty was offset by a roughing the passer penalty against Haloti Ngata for what was deemed a helmet-to-helmet hit.

But, was Ngata wrongly penalized? Here's the play in question, courtesy of SBNation:


The contact appeared much worse than it was because Griffin's helmet flew off when he hit the ground, an extraneous reaction that may have helped draw the flag. Ngata was also not late in getting to Griffin -- he drilled Washington's quarterback just as he released the pass:

Mike Pereira seemed to acknowledge that Ngata's hit wasn't to RGIII's helmet, but said it was close enough for the NFL.

Given a reprieve on second down, Griffin then found Leonard Hankerson for a 29-yard completion to the Baltimore 26. Three plays later, Alfred Morris scored on a 1-yard run to put the Redskins up, 14-7.

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