Jimmy Garoppolo, the Raiders new quarterback, is not quite as mobile as he used to be, and he was not all that mobile to begin with by NFL standards. But he did scramble for nine carries in Sunday’s tight Week 1 win in Denver, totaling 11 yards. His longest carry came on the opening drive, a Raiders touchdown keyed by his third-and-7 rush for eight yards, taking the Raiders into the red zone with a first down.
But the run got even more productive when an unnecessary roughness penalty on Justin Simmons was tacked on, taking Las Vegas to the 5-yard line with a first-and-goal. Simmons dove toward Garoppolo as the veteran QB was being tackled from behind by Frank Clark, and it appeared that Simmons knocked Garoppolo in the head.
Replays, though, showed that Simmons did not directly hit Garoppolo with his helmet. Even on Wednesday, three days after the play, Simmons was not happy with the call.
“I did see that, somebody sent me (the clip), a close friend of mine,” Simmons said Wednesday, according to the AP. “I guess great acting on Jimmy’s end. But if I get a fine … I think anyone who watches that clip can tell there was no force with the helmet. I hit his shoulder pad with my elbow and I think the rest of what I was aiming for, I ended up hitting either his back or Frank.”
Charles Woodson Gets Into Spat with NFL Vet
The clip of the play was popularized by 10-year NFL veteran and now Denver radio host Nick Ferguson, a defensive back who spent five years with the Broncos. Ferguson argued on Twitter that it was a phantom call. Showing the replay, Ferguson commented, “There’s no contact with Jimmy G.’s helmet. … No contact, at all, to the helmet.”
That’s where former Raiders legend Charles Woodson, a Hall of Famer who played 11 of his 18 seasons in silver-and-black, stepped in to offer his (we think) unbiased opinion. Writing on Twitter, Woodson countered: “So you would have me believe forearm and shin didn’t hit the back of his head?? Ok got it.”
Now, it could be argued that Simmons did not need to make direct contact with Garoppolo, with the forearm or the shin that Woodson mentioned. He could have been called for a late hit if it was determined that Garoppolo was already down when the hit came in, which he appeared to be.
Either way, Garoppolo appeared woozy enough for the NFL’s concussion spotter to get him off the field for an evaluation. Garoppolo sat out two plays, then returned on third-and-goal to throw a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers.
Justin Simmons Concerned About Potential NFL Fine
Simmons seemed to have left his displeasure with the result of the call—it pretty directly led to the Raiders’ first touchdown—in the past. But he was more concerned on Wednesday with the NFL coming after him with a fine. Simmons said he would certainly appeal it if the league does come down on him with a financial penalty.
“Those types of plays are so bang-bang, critical third down. I’m not really sure how close the yardage was in real time,” Simmons said. “I don’t make the rules, but I don’t think it was fine-worthy. If it was, I’m sure we’ll do a good job with the appeal to that.”