KANSAS CITY MO - OCTOBER 31: Wallace Gilberry #92 of the Kansas City Chiefs strips the ball from the hands of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills during the game on October 31 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Hits in the NFL have been in the news lately because the league has increased the consequences of those hits which are deemed illegal. Luckily for Gilberry (and Fitzpatrick), this isn't a James Harrison-type of situation. Late in the second quarter Gilberry simply tried to swat the ball as Fitzpatrick threw it and hit his helmet instead.
On the play in question it was (from left to right): LB Andy Studebaker, DE Gilberry, DE Glenn Dorsey and LB Tamba Hali. Gilberry quickly swept around Dorsey to his right and made his move at Fitzpatrick. The only problem was his move was trying to swat the ball from Fitzpatrick as he threw it.
Instead, Gilberry missed the ball and swatted Fitzpatrick with his right hand square in the face mask. An unnecessary roughness penalty was assessed on the play and we didn't see a lot of arguing coming from the Chiefs players. It was pretty clear.
It came on a third and four late in the first half so it was hardly the best time for a penalty. The Bills didn't score so it ultimately didn't matter.
Wilson reports that a letter from the league office explained this week that he "violated the NFL rule prohibiting defenders from making impermissible contact using the helmet or facemask or other parts of the body to hit the quarterback in the head, neck or face area."
Player agent for Gilberry, Terry Bolar, tells Wilson he'll file an appeal. We know of one Chiefs player -- DE Shaun Smith -- that has successfully appealed a fine this year.