Personally foul? Oher may not have deserved it

Personally foul? Oher may not have deserved it
December 26, 2012, 2:15 am
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Among the Ravens’ three personal-foul penalties on Sunday, the most sympathy has been directed to Ed Reed and Torrey Smith. Reed’s flag came on a helmet-to-helmet hit that looked more like a shoulder to the chest, and likewise for Smith’s crack-back block.

But Michael Oher’s penalty for a chop block doesn’t appear to get the same degree of understanding. Now, part of this could be that Oher isn’t as much of a sympathetic character. He’s had his problems at left tackle — though not to nearly the same degree on Sunday — whether it’s being unable to keep pass rushers from getting to Joe Flacco or drawing false-start calls by the officials.

Still, that chop-block penalty looked as questionable as the other two. The rule is that an offensive lineman can’t go low — chopping at a defender’s legs — while the defensive player is “engaged” with another blocker. Apparently, the bar for what qualifies as engagement isn’t set too high. In this case, it looked like left guard Jah Reid wasn’t doing much more than touching the Giants lineman’s shoulder when Oher cut the defender’s legs out from under him.

But Oher could be bringing this upon himself, because officials just get accustomed to tossing flags his way. That may not be fair, but so many of the calls that involve player safety are so subjective that any number of factors can be in play.

Still, Oher may not have deserved this one.