The 325-pound Baker insisted he had no idea that player was Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, who was trying to help tackle Redskin cornerback Bashaud Breeland after throwing what appeared to be an interception during the frantic fourth quarter of Washington’s 37-34 loss at Lincoln Financial Field.
“I was doing what I was taught, and that’s to go get a block,” said Baker, who was ejected after the play. “I did not look to see if it was the quarterback. All I saw was someone going towards the ball, and I got my head in front and lowered my shoulder, which is a legal football move.”
Baker’s hit leveled the 6-foot-6, 243-pound quarterback. So Jason Peters, Philadelphia’s 328-pound left tackle, punched him, triggering a brawl involving at least two dozen players from both teams who spilled onto the sideline, halting play as the referee ordered players back to their benches and tried sorting out the penalties.
They overruled the interception and announced that Baker and Washington left tackle Trent Williams were being tossed, presumably mistaking him for Peters because both wear No. 71 jerseys.
That made Williams erupt.
“Obviously they got me mixed up with 71 from Philly,” Williams said in the locker room later. “I was hot because I knew I didn’t do anything to get tossed. That’s why I was emotional.”
The referees corrected their error and send Peters packing, along with Baker.
Baker said he was never told why he was ejected and insisted that he never threw a punch but made a legal block.
According to Rule 12, section 2, article 7 of the NFL rulebook, “it is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player in a defenseless posture,” including “a quarterback at any time after a change of possession.”
“I did not even really hit him hard,” Baker said of Foles. “I just happened to hit him on this shoulder, and he happened to fall. He’s the quarterback, and I guess that’s why there was an ejection.”
Peters was ejected, too. And while he conceded he shouldn’t have thrown a punch, Peters explained he was trying to defend his quarterback.
“That wasn’t scripted or planned,” Peters said of his punch. “[Baker] just cheap-shotted Nick Foles, and I reacted.”
To veteran safety Ryan Clark, who has delivered and received his share of hits in a 13-year NFL career, it was simply part of the game.
“When two teams are fighting hard to win and protecting their teammates, that’s what football’s about,” Clark said. “This is a brotherhood, these guys in your locker room. Those guys were feisty, and we’re all grown men. We all have egos. As much as we try to say we don’t, and we all want to be the alpha male. That’s cool. If we see those guys, we’ll shake their hand.”
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