Lions’ Ihedigbo awaits word from NFL on Allen hit

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Lions safety James Ihedigbo tried to argue his case to the referees, but he couldn’t change their mind as they charged him with a personal foul in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the San Diego Chargers.

After a 19-yard completion from Philip Rivers to quarterback Keenan Allen, Ihedigbo dove to make a tackle and received a 15-yard personal foul.

“I don’t know,” Ihedigbo said about why the referees made the call. “I let up and I didn’t even lead with the head, but that’s just the nature of this league.”

Now, Ihedigbo will have to wait to see if he hears from the NFL about the hit because unnecessary roughness penalties typically result in league-imposed fines. If he receives a bill, though, he “of course” will appeal.

The official call was unnecessary roughness and a late hit, but there was nothing late about the hit as Ihedigbo collided with Allen just as the receiver’s knee hit the ground.

The likely foul, though, was that Ihedigbo made helmet-to-helmet contact with Allen, and even though he led with his right shoulder, the refs threw the flag. From Ihedigbo’s perspective, he had to make the hit, but in the current safety-first climate of the NFL, many hits involving head-to-head collisions will receive penalties, even if defenders try to use proper technique.

“I was just trying to protect myself,” Ihedigbo said. “I can’t just let go and let him spear me in the ribs, so I tried to turn my shoulder and he was going down. I barely even hit him.”

The penalty moved the Chargers to the Detroit 45, and they scored five plays and one penalty later, cutting the Lions’ lead to 21-10 at the time.