The Saints dominated the Giants tonight, winning 49-24 at the Superdome, but what might prove to be the most enduring story from tonight’s contest are vicious (and illegal) hits, one by each team. First, the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks was the recipient. And he received a major shot:
The defender led with the helmet and there was helmet-to-helmet contact, so the flag is understandable. But at least this one looked like an attempt at a clean hit. Some pointed out the helmet hit the shoulder pads first. We wish the helmet-to-helmet contact hadn’t occurred at all, because this was a monster hit, and let’s face it, monster hits are part of why we watch football. And we want them to count for something other then penalty yardage. Plus, it was definitely a cleaner hit than the one Saints tight end Jimmy Graham absorbed later:
Yeah, there’s really no arguing that one. The Giants’ Kenny Phillips laid out Graham primarily with his helmet. A huge hit, sure, but this on was really, really illegal. The Nicks hit in particular, along with the Saints’ involvement, couldn’t help but remind us of what might be the biggest hit we’ve ever seen – the Eagles’ Sheldon Brown destroying Reggie Bush in the playoffs a few years back. The gold standard – entirely legal, entirely punishing. The hits tonight, alas, were only the latter.