According to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams has been hit with a $15,750 fine for a horse collar tackle on Saints running back/kick returner Darren Sproles.
The play occurred on the final kickoff of the Eagles-Saints Saturday night playoff wild card game. Alex Henery's kick from the 35 went 67 yards and was fielded by Darren Sproles in his own endzone (-2 yard line). Sproles made work of his blocking and cut across the field to break free of the kickoff coverage. The only person near him was Eagles CB Cary Williams, who lunged at Sproles to take him down in the only manner he could, via the illegal horse collar tackle. The penalty was obvious and the officials threw their flags immediately. Not only did Sproles get 39 yards on the kickoff, but the 15 yard penalty on top of that moved the ball to the Philadelphia 48 yard line with 4:54 left on the clock. The Saints would go on to move the ball down the field to kick a game winning field goal as the clock expired, winning 26-24.
Williams noted after the game that the thinking on his penalty was to get Sproles down at all costs, which makes sense. Otherwise, there would have been no one to stop Sproles. While Williams is the one being fined, special teams player Colt Anderson is the one who took responsibility for Sproles' return. Anderson admitted his fault after the game.
"I tried to do a little something different at the end, and I got caught inside," said Eagles special-teams ace Colt Anderson. "I should have been outside. I got greedy. I was trying to make the play and ended up getting myself out of position.
"The whole game they just kept hitting us in the middle, hitting us in the middle. They got us. Gotta give credit to them. Sproles is a good returner. At the end of the day, I didn’t do my job. It’s all on me."
Williams was trying to make up for a teammate's mistake but it ended up costing him.
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