Early in the first quarter, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried to expose a small window to complete a third down pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. It initially looked like he caught the football, as he was diving to the turf. Instead George Iloka made contact and the football fell incomplete. Finley left the game with a concussion and never returned.
The league deemed it as a hit against a defenseless receiver. Iloka disputes that.
"He was coming at me head first and I was just trying to make a play on the ball and knock it out with my hand and his head happened to hit my lower bicep area and caused a concussion," the second-year safety said.
"You can’t do anything but let them catch the ball," Iloka said. "Unless there’s a new rule that you have to let players catch the ball, you just have to eat that fine. I’d rather take whatever the fine is than let a guy make a big catch on third-and-whatever."
Mark Carrier, Iloka's position coach, agrees.
"Because everything he did for the most part was right," Carrier said via Bengals.com. "The way it looked, it looked like he didn't hit him with his helmet ... that's just how they're doing it now. Especially when you see a guy go down with a concussion. ... He just kind of ran through him. Didn't leave his feet. In that situation there's not much you can tell him differently."
"I did everything I could that play," Iloka said via Bengals.com. "Didn't hit him with my shoulder. Didn't hit him with my head. So, what else do I do to try to make a play on the ball? You don't change your approach as a safety or as a defender. You've just got to try to play within the rules and be as safe as possible. But some things are unavoidable and that play was one of them."