Sunday Wrap: Player pushed for principle

Updated Oct 21, 2013 3: 11 AM ET

Will Montgomery has been lined up for a field goal this past year in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals and looked up to see a opponent on either shoulder — plus two more behind them, ready to leave their teammates into Montgomery.

It was four against one, and the Wa Redskins offensive lineman didn’t think that was very fair or safe.

“I actually pulled my hamstring because it root-hogged my legs out from underneath me personally. I did the splits, and I generally can’t do the splits, ” Montgomery told FOX Sports by mobile phone Sunday evening. “I’m like, ‘Man, this is BS. ‘ That was the genesis of the rule change. ”

As ProFootballTalk. com reported Sunday, the principle change was, in large part, Montgomery’s idea. The change — that no player could push one of their teammates into a blocker on a place kick from scrimmage — has been one of several made this offseason. This didn’t get nearly as much interest as the “crown of the helmet” principle or the elimination of the “tuck principle. ”

Properly, at least not until Sunday, when it was called for the first time at a essential moment for the New England Patriots — in overtime as Ny Jets kicker Nick Folk yanked a 56-yard field-goal attempt wide left. The Pats’ Chris Jones pushed Will Svitek into Jets lineman Damon Harrison, which is a breach of the new rule. Instead of first-and-10 for the Patriots from their own fouthy-six, it was first down from the New England 23 for the Jets. And four plays later, it was the Jets victory on a 42-yard field goal by Folk.

Bill Belichick indicated after the game he thought the principle applied only to players on the “second level” (i. e., linebackers) on the snap. A confused Belichick did not like the call. Neither did lots of other Patriots players, staffers plus fans.

But Montgomery did. And he likes the rule change he helped sanction.

“They say just get low pads and low pad wins, however, you get low pads and then men fall on top of you, ” Montgomery said. “You feel like bones are gonna break or you’re going to draw things and I did pull my hamstring. So you figure, in this totally new era of player safety, the four-on-one is not safe in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. ”

The way Jones went right for Svitek plus latched on to him indicated it wasn’t an accident and that he has been carrying out an assignment. Whether he or she, Belichick or the coaching staff knew it was a violation of the new rule might never be known (Jones said afterward he did not know it was illegal).

However , Montgomery said the Patriots weren’t the only ones trying the move. He’s seen multiple situations on film of a player coating up a few feet off the series and then sliding sideways to give the nudge to another player. Montgomery has been surprised there had been no fines called in the first six weeks from the season.

FOX Sports’ Mike Pereira reported Sunday the officials had been shown situations that should have been called on their weekly videos.

This time, the refs were ready. And so they called it.

It’s quite the change from the way in which things used to be for field-goal blockers. Even the snapper, whose head has been down while rushers were working into him, used to take a beating.

Former snapper Ryan Kuehl, a player rep towards the NFL Players Association during their 13-year career with the Redskins, Bay area 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Gambling, recalls the days when long snappers would face three-man wedges more than top of them with three pushers behind them. Kuehl said teams actually coached their players to lift the snapper off the ground to create a better push, or at least influence a bad take.

In 2006, Kuehl and other snappers around the league began to enjoy the breathing room that came with a principle change prohibiting defenders from coating up anywhere over the snapper.

Still, other players along the line received no special protection.

“You would hold on for dear existence, and I’m surprised when I has been doing it more people didn’t obtain hurt, ” said Kuehl, who have did some work with the NFLPA after his retirement in 2007 and is now a senior movie director of sports marketing for Under Shield. “But it’s a violent sport. That is part of the deal. I don’t think you are able to legislate injuries.

“Is it better from a security perspective? Absolutely. But does it associated with kick more automatic? Probably. Unless the kicker kicks it lower, it’s hard to get a block with no push. ”

But like many rule changes of late, it’s about safety more than entertainment. And while the Patriots not necessarily happy with the change right now, Montgomery is.

“When I’m on field-goal protection plus there are only two guys on me instead of four guys or perhaps a linebacker pushing, ” Montgomery said, “it definitely makes me proud of that rule change. ”

Bengals in the clutch

Last year, after getting blown out in the opener, the Bengals lost games by 4, 10, seven, 8, 1 and 6 factors. This year, they’ve won games by 10, 4, 7, 3 plus 3 points.

Those past two victories, including one over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, have been on field objectives by Mike Nugent, who strike a 43-yarder in overtime to beat the Buffalo Bills a week ago and this week nailed a 54-yard kick at the end of regulation.

Safe to state, Nugent is enjoying Montgomery’s small rule change.

“I kind of told myself the whole game, every single ball I strike should be good from a certain range, ” Nugent told FOX Sports by phone after the Bengals returned to Cincinnati. “In a cupola, an extra point should go in from 55, so I told myself simply hit a regular ball. Don’t modify anything because of the situation in a sport. Just keep everything exactly the same. I kept my head down and ended up seeing it go through. ”

That kick, as well as the victory it gave Cincy, influenced confidence in a team that was showing swagger even after its first victory this season, when wide receiver A. J. Green told me in our job interview for FOX Sports 1 pursuing the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers he or she thinks the Bengals are the “team to beat. ”

Maybe they’re not quite there, but picking up hard-fought victories will get a team closer and develops that confidence.

“Oh definitely, I do think we think that will going into games but when you come out of video games like that… it is so tough to earn on the road these days, ” Nugent said. “It’s not just, ‘Hey, good job, we all won. ‘ It’s like, ‘We just won on the road in a tough environment. ‘ Everywhere you perform is a tough place to play if you’re not the home team. Yeah, I think it really gives you a nice boost when you have a win like that. Everyone type of does a great job sticking jointly. The captains really stepped up.

“I like what Andy (Dalton) is doing. He’s really becoming a leader on this group even though he’s still a young man. He’s a guy that commands a great deal out of the guys on that criminal offense, and everyone listens to him. ”

Quick takes

• From Sam Bradford’s torn ACL, to Jay Cutler hobbling from the field, to Reggie Wayne’s leg injury, to Brian Cushing’s broken leg, to Jermichael Finley departing Lambeau Field in an ambulance, to… that’s enough, I can’t even have the rest of them. You saw the injuries, and we’ll all invest the next two days going through the fallout from them. And there’s really very little more to say than it was a truly awful day in the NFL with regard to the number of very good football players who have left the field with scary (or even just scary-looking) injuries. Just for as thrilling as the last-second victories by the Bengals, Steelers and Jets were, the sight of those players getting hurt lessened the pleasure of the entire day.

• Another guy who have left with an injury was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who have just didn’t look very good throughout the 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, even before he took a shot towards the head that caused a concussion. FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported on Sunday that Foles’ groin injury was so bad a week ago leading up to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that the team was getting ready to force Eileen Vick into action in case Foles wasn’t ready. Look for more clearness on Foles’ situation the next few days because he’s dealing with a few problems. Early indications are he defintely won’t be ready to go on Sunday against the Gambling.

• That which was going on in Broncos defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson’s head on Sunday night time? He had three personal-foul penalties for a total of 45 yards. The main one on the extra point following the Indianapolis Colts’ touchdown to make it 33-14 late in the third quarter was revolting. Replays showed he took the swipe at the knee of Colts center Samson Satele, who missed the rest of the game and was irate for good reason. And then, Vickerson inexplicably bumped QB Andrew Luck well after he released a pass as the Broncos were trying to get the basketball back in the fourth quarter. It was hardly a hit, and Luck might’ve embellished, but Vickerson deserved the charges — if only for his human brain lock on the play.

• The game Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown had on Sunday probably won’t get the attention it deserves because the Bears lost plus McCown took a sack to end the comeback attempt. That said, he or she was 14 for 20 designed for 204 yards and a touchdown after replacing the injured Cutler. Supposing Cutler is out for at least a couple weeks (and sources say that’s a safe assumption), McCown is about to get the best opportunity of his 11-year profession. Yeah, 11 years. He’s been around that long. And for a guy who has played for the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Elephants, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers and has only been on one playoff team (the one-and-done 2008 Panthers), piloting the 4-3 Bears inside a wide-open NFC is surely a accepted opportunity.

• In addition to Nugent, let’s give one more kicker some love for their work on Sunday. Dan Carpenter got booed for some unknown reason by Miami Dolphins fans on Sunday. Well, for some reason other than the fact that the Dolphins cut him this summer. Hi, it happens. Carpenter joined the Arizona Cardinals for a whopping 4 days before joining the Buffalo Bills after Dustin Hopkins got hurt in practice before Week one Shortly before signing with Arizona, Carpenter was dealing with the stress of his wife being overdue with all the couple’s first child. Anyway, back to Sunday: Carpenter hit three field goals, including the 31-yard game-winner, plus slowed down Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen just enough to prevent a touchdown around the ensuing kick return. It was a positive return that shouldn’t have happened mainly because Carpenter didn’t get enough lower-leg on the ball, but at least he avoided the TD.

“I probably lost a couple years of my life out there on that play, ” Bills trainer Doug Marrone said.

Hey, those years netted a win, and the job Marrone is doing to keep the 3-4 Expenses competitive can’t be overstated.

Ten actually quicker takes

• Brandon Jacobs: Don’t expect the Giants’ running back to suit up Monday night vs . the Vikings. He’s listed since questionable with a hamstring injury, yet word is he’s more dubious. The 0-6 Giants will need rookie Michael Cox and newly-signed veteran Peyton Hillis to come up huge.

• Erik Walden: Between the Peyton Manning dilemma, the Wayne injury and everything else involved with Broncos-Colts, don’t forget about the man who made two huge plays late — one to force an interception on a hit of Manning and another to force the fumble a few minutes later. (Fitting a man wearing Dwight Freeney’s No . 93 made the plays against Manning, huh? )

• Andy Reid: The big man is having a blast. Did you catch him giving official Don Carey a playful jab to the gut during a replay review early within the fourth quarter? A 7-0 record would make any coach smile, but for all he’s been through in recent years, it’s good to see Reid having fun.

• Jake Locker: Kudos to the Titans’ quarterback for hustling back onto area. With every limp Sunday, it was evident he wasn’t anywhere close to 100 percent.

• Rex Ryan: So fired…. Wow wait, sorry, I was looking at others’ notes from August.

• Hillcrest Chargers: They broke the loss-win pattern they’d established through their particular first six games and avoided a trap in Jacksonville.

• London: We’re about to find out just how much they actually appreciate the NFL with this Jaguars-49ers matchup they’re about to be subjected to.

• Colin Kaepernick’s hip and legs: Raise your hand if you had him picking up his first rushing landing in Week 7…. Liars.

• Kaepernick’s equip: He has thrown for fewer than two hundred yards in five of their seven games. Eh, whatever. Every seems fine for San Francisco on offense.

• Steven Jackson: The Atlanta Falcons signed him to add punch for their running game. With 18 — eighteen! — rushing yards on Sunday, they’re now 30th in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, with 68. 3 yards on a lawn per game. They’re not dead but need Jackson back in the selection quickly.

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