With 11:52 remaining in the first quarter, Drew Brees brings his crew to the line of scrimmage with Jimmy Graham playing wide right. It's a quick slant to Graham but the offense showed a running back screen to the left.
As soon as Brees received the snap, he slung the football to Graham. With the throw well-behind Graham, the football fell harmlessly incomplete.
Safety George Iloka delivered a shot after the incomplete and received a personal foul.
Despite taking his time getting off the turf, Graham played another 46 snaps (54 total) but was only targeted three times. One occurred two plays later (a 13-yard play where he was wide open over the middle), later in the first and early in the third quarter.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis believes that hit may have had an impact.
"Unfortunately it cost us a penalty, but I think … it took a little bit out of him for the rest of the football game," said Lewis via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He's obviously someone we wanted to get hands on every chance we get. He's such an effective receiver."
For some reason the headline read: Iloka's penalty on Graham worth it. And then Pro Football Talk played off the headline that wasn't even in the quote... even referred to his comment about concussions because TMZ was a bit busy tonight.
1) The quote given in the story said nothing about whether or not the penalty was "worth it"-- only that the impact of the hit benefited Cincinnati. I'm not saying that Lewis wasn't thinking it... but some people are connecting some dots that were not presented in the actual story.
2) Even if Lewis implied that the penalty was worth it, you'd be stupid not to think that hits like that are EXACTLY WHY DEFENSES PLAY DEFENSE. You don't want to hurt the player, but you better believe that George "f***ing" Iloka just sent a message to Graham. This has been part of football since leather helmets.
3) After reading the story, it felt like the headline was more incendiary than the actual hit.