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Giants linebacker Jarrad Davis was called for unnecessary roughness against the Eagles on Saturday night. The call was pretty negligible in the grand scheme of things, but it was questionable nonetheless.
Philadelphia had the ball on 2nd-and-8 at the New York 10(ish)-yard-line, late in the second quarter. It held a 21-0 lead and a touchdown would have made it a four-possession game.
That is ultimately what ended up playing out. The Eagles went up 28-0 at halftime with help from what was called a late hit.
Jalen Hurts took the snap on second down and swung a screen pass out to Kenny Gainwell in the flat. The 5-foot-9 running back couldn’t hang on and the ball bounced onto the turf.
As it did, Davis came downfield to make the would-be tackle and laid a hit on Gainwell. They made helmet-to-helmet contact in the process and the Giants linebacker was flagged.
However, upon further review, it appeared as though veteran offensive lineman Jason Kelce was responsible for a portion of the late hit. He put his right hand on Davis’ back and seemingly gave him a firm push.
The nudge, coupled with Davis’ forward momentum, sent him flying into Gainwell. Davis may have been able to either stop himself from advancing further downfield or get out of the way if Kelce had not pushed him.
That raises the question of who is at fault. I, personally, don’t have an extensive knowledge of the NFL rulebook and a very brief Google search was largely unhelpful.
Can Davis still be called for unnecessary roughness if he was pushed? It seems like no, right?
Whatever the official rule might be, it doesn’t matter in this specific instance. Davis was pushed, but he was called for a penalty anyway. Philadelphia scored shortly thereafter.