Talk about good timing! Earlier this afternoon, Wes Hanson discussed how penalties are diminishing the quality of NFL games. And shortly after, we learn that Patrick Willis was not fined for his two "roughing" penalties in Week 3.
After not getting flagged a single time in 2013, Willis was flagged three times on Sunday. He received an illegal contact penalty while covering John Carlson (it was declined), a roughing penalty when he showed textbook form in tackling quarterback Drew Stanton, and an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver when he hit Larry Fitzgerald after a reception. Here is the roughing the QB "penalty":
And once again, we are reminded of Anquan Boldin's comments about officiating. The NFL acknowledges their mistakes, says they're sorry, and the 49ers don't get anything out of it. Maybe the officials get docked in their performance evaluations, but the 49ers don't get the yards back. The 49ers forced a penalty a couple plays after the hit on Fitzgerald, but the roughing on Stanton got the Cardinals to the 49ers 25, and they would later score a touchdown on the drive.
I know I'm repeating myself at this point, but the NFL seriously needs to have instant replay available for big penalties. How does a 15-yard penalty, or a spot of the fall pass interference penalty not have the option for review. These plays involve incredibly subjective evaluations that clearly could be wrong when slowed down by replay. Instead, the NFL just half-asses their way through this, taking years to make incremental improvements. It is so incredibly frustrating.