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Eagles-Redskins: NFL Rulebook explains why Chris Baker's hit on Nick Foles was illegal

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Chris Baker did not legally hit Nick Foles.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

While I think most people correctly believe that the hit Washington Redskins defender Chris Baker put on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was illegal, I find it surprising that some have actually come to the defense of Baker. Baker himself legitimately did not think he did anything wrong.

Quotes via PhillyMag: "I did not do anything wrong besides make a football play and defend myself after getting hit. But if I could do it again, I would do it again. [...] he whistle had not been blown. He was going towards the ball, the ballcarrier was taking a right and he could have made the tackle. I did not even really hit him hard. I just happened to hit him on his shoulder, and he happened to fall. He's the quarterback and I guess that's why there was an ejection"

Here is a replay of the hit:

http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/1360098/folesboom.0.gif

And here is why it is illegal. Straight from the NFL Rulebook, Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9. There is no debate to be had here. Nick Foles is a quarterback. There was a change in possession (that would later be overturned). By strict definition alone, Foles was a player in a defenseless posture.

Still, some will argue that Baker's hit was legal because Foles could have tried to make a tackle attempt on the defensive player who intercepted the ball. If that were the case, Foles would have to be in a "distinctly defensive position." Watch the play again. Is Foles even close to being in a "distinctly defensive position"? Considering he is several yards away from the ball and the play is nearly ending, the answer is easily no.

This is obviously the play that caused a brawl to break out between Washington and Philadelphia on Sunday. Jason Peters, who rightly came to Foles' defense, engaged Baker and both players were ejected from the game.

According to ProFootballTalk, neither player will be suspended.

(Hat tip to @theprez98 and @SheilKapadia for the screenshots, respectively.)