Football is an inherently violent sport, but outright brawls are relatively rare. That’s why Sunday was so unusual, as fights marred three games, with a total of five players getting ejected, an amount that was arguably too low.
Many observers felt that the Buccaneers’ Mike Evans should have been ejected for his role in a melee between his squad and the Saints. The quintet of disqualifications included the Bengals’ A.J. Green, the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, the 49ers’ Carlos Hyde and the Cardinals’ Frostee Rucker and Haason Reddick.
Green and Ramsey got the Week 9 unpleasantries started when they tangled in the second quarter of Cincinnati’s 23-7 loss at Jacksonville. Ramsey gave Green a shove after a play had ended, and the star wide receiver responded by grabbing the cornerback around the neck from behind, slinging him to the ground and throwing a couple of punches.
After the game, Green told reporters he was tired of taking “cheap shots” from Ramsey, but he expressed regret over his actions. “As a player, as a man, as a father, it’s a reflection of me,” Green said (via cincinnati.com).
“I should have just walked off in that whole situation. It got the best of me today. But I’ll definitely learn from the experience. It’s never going to happen again.”
While Green may receive a suspension from the NFL, Ramsey and Jaguars fans felt that he should not have been ejected at all, given that his shove was relatively innocuous. However, officials reportedly felt that Ramsey instigated the fight and thus deserved equal treatment.
Shortly after that incident, an odder one occurred in New Orleans, where the Saints defeated the Buccaneers, 30-10. In the third quarter, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who was already out of the game and on the sideline with a shoulder injury, appeared to be pointing at something on the field but not trying very hard to avoid jabbing Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the back of the neck.
Lattimore took exception and pushed Winston with one arm, at which point Evans sprinted over and gave the New Orleans rookie a much harder shove. That led to much more pushing and shoving between the teams, but the only penalty issued was a 15-yard flag on Evans for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“If there’s not an ejection in that situation, then I don’t know when there’s supposed to be an ejection,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said of Evans after the game. Lattimore had a slightly different take on his antagonist, saying, “I wanted to go at him after that, so I was glad he wasn’t ejected.”
The third fight of the day took place in Santa Clara, Calif., where the Cardinals beat the 49ers, 20-10. Late in the fourth quarter, San Francisco quarterback C.J. Beathard took a late hit as he was sliding to the ground, and teammates rushed to his defense.
In the ensuing melee, Rucker knocked Hyde down, which only served to increase the hostilities. Nevertheless, 49ers management was reportedly pleased with how Hyde stuck up for his quarterback.
The NFL will have plenty through which to sort this week, in terms of how much to fine the players involved — including many more than just the players penalized Sunday — and whom, if any, to suspend. It was definitely not a great look for a league with several other negative headlines on its hands these days, and the fantasy football community will certainly feel an impact if Green, Evans and/or Hyde are forced to sit out a game or two.
Read more from The Post: