New York Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson was not penalized for a blindside block against Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka last week. However, the NFL acknowledged that the play was unnecessary by fining the 300-pound defensive lineman for the cheap shot.
Anderson’s hit on Hauschka drew a $10,026 fine, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. In the context of Anderson’s overall salary, that isn’t a tremendous amount, as the fourth-year player is slated to make $1,907,000 this year, according to Spotrac. The fine is less than 1% of Anderson’s overall salary for the season. All fines are determined by a schedule included in the collective bargaining agreement.
The hit came on the final play of the first half. Buffalo led 17-13, and they had marched 60 yards in three minutes to set up a 49-yard field-goal attempt as time expired. Anderson blocked the field goal, but if the penalty were called on field, Buffalo would have had two choices: attempt a 34-yard field goal or try to score a touchdown on an untimed down from the 16-yard line.
The decision wouldn’t be as simple as it appears. Since Hauschka was attended to by trainers on the play, and the Bills were out of timeouts, he would not be eligible to participate on the ensuing down. This means that punter Matt Darr likely would have been the field-goal kicker had the Bills been given the chance to try again. It’s no guarantee that Buffalo would have scored on the play, but a 20-13 halftime lead would have been huge, especially since the Bills forced a turnover and kicked a field goal on the first drive of the third quarter.
The illegal hit had a tremendous impact on both Hauschka and the outcome of the game, as Buffalo’s placekicker was clearly hampered for the rest of the afternoon. He could not kick the ball deep on kickoffs, and he badly missed a 54-yard field goal in the fourth quarter before knocking home a 36-yard kick that gave Buffalo a 23-20 lead with just over 2 minutes to play.