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Pass Interference on a Lineman?

SI's Dr. Z Explains Penalty

I don't think I've ever seen an offensive lineman called for pass interference. Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman notes that it would have been "ineligible receiver downfield," except that Mankins made contact, blocking a defender.

CBS never showed a replay (Imagine that) so I was never able to verify.

Still, I have a hard time accepting this being called in a divisional playoff game. Are you telling me this never happened all season and it just happened to occur on one of the few screen passes the Patriots ran in this game -- of all games?

It's like a couple years ago when Russ Hochstein got flagged a few times for "running into the pile," a rule the NFL was emphasizing because a lot of offensive linemen were pushing piles, particularly after the play. It just seems strange that the Patriots seem to be the only team that gets a majority (or all) of these bizarre, sometimes penalties.

And not because other teams don't do it. I saw offensive linemen from Indianapolis, Seattle and Chicago all plowing into piles Sunday, and there were no flags. I even saw one player pushing forward his running back teammate, and that's definitely illegal.

Just thought I'd mention it, because several people have asked me about the Mankins penalty, and Zimmerman explained it. Of course, Zimmerman also said waving off LaDainian Tomlinson's facemask of Rosevelt Colvin, on which Tomlinson nearly tore Colvin's helmet off, was a good call because Tomlinson didn't "grasp" Colvin's facemask.

Tomlinson used Colvin's facemask to tackle him. Whether he grasped it or stuck his hand inside it, if fingers are under the facemask (on top of Colvin's visor -- by Zimmerman's logic, it would be impossible to facemask Colvin or Tomlinson, who also wears a visor) and it's used to bring down the player, that's a facemask.

No clue what replay he saw. It wasn't the one I saw.

But that's typical of the national media. No love for winners.