The New Orleans Saints benefited greatly from a controversial call last week when 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks was called for unnecessary roughness for striking Drew Brees in the neck.
On Thursday, the Saints benefited from a non-call in their 17-13 win over the Falcons on a more obvious hit on the quarterback.
That's about as clear a penalty as you can have. Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks made contact with Matt Ryan's face mask. Referee Ron Winter's crew missed it, so the sack counted and the Falcons ultimately settled for a field goal.
We thought the call last week against Brooks was a clear one. The NFL agreed, fining Brooks $15,750 for the illegal hit.
This play by Hicks was even more clear. Look for Hicks to get fined, too, even if he didn't get called for a penalty.
UPDATE: Falcons coach Mike Smith said at the postgame news conference that he was told by the official that Hicks didn't hit Ryan in the head or neck area.
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