Last night, Taylor Mays finally decided to decleat a player from the opposing team, which was a pleasant change from the first two games of the preseason. Unfortunately, Mays was flagged for a personal foul on the hit and the replays made it appear that it was a legal one. We weren't the only ones who thought so.
Count Mays, head coach Marvin Lewis, and even the victim, Tom Crabtree, as all who admitted that it was a clean play. The first indication? Besides Crabtree's admittance that the hit was legal, he left with a shoulder injury after the hit--not a concussion.
During the post game festivities, Lewis spoke about the hit and the impact of the replacement officials.
"It was exactly shoulder-to-shoulder. Unfortunately, the guy that made the call’s explanation was not correct," Lewis said. It’s one of those things. They are getting better. Hopefully, it will get closer and closer to what we need. His understanding was that the player was a defenseless receiver. He was, but you are allowed to hit a defenseless receiver shoulder-to-shoulder. There is no such thing as a defenseless player unless he is hit in the head with your head. It was a misinterpretation of the rule. I know they are working hard. The league is working hard to get this stuff corrected. They are working overtime on it actually. It’ll get better and better.
"It’s a good thing because Taylor is learning. He’s doing good things physically. He is a good physical presence back there."
Reading between the lines, one can see that Lewis isn't pleased with the NFL's current officiating situation. If you watched the game on Thursday, you would have seen a number of missed calls on both teams. Anthony Munoz and Brad Johanssen joked about that frequently during the telecast. Regardless, it still appears that Lewis is enamored with Mays and he'll likely be hanging onto the starting role.
Mays also chimed in on the hit and kind of shrugged it off.
"I think the main thing is he was high when he caught the ball and I was high when I hit him," Mays said. "The emphasis we've been talking about is me striking from a lower position. The lower I get the less room for argument. I don't know. Replay it."
It was a blatant poor call and was a downer to see Mays and the Bengals defense get unfairly punished for that bad call. If there was anything positive to take out of the situation, it's that Mays appears to be understanding the concept of proper positioning when making this type of hit. It's also a relief that Crabtree wasn't severely injured.