By FeedCrossing
Site Partner

The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers both won competitive games in Week 1 of the 2013 NFL regular season, but not without key penalties coming to their rescue. Both teams were able to benefit Sunday from the NFL's rules protecting quarterbacks trying to get out of bounds.

For the Jets, their 18-17 squeaker over Tampa Bay came together only after quarterback Geno Smith (15-of-31 for 210 yards with TD, INT) took off running with just seconds left in the game, streaking toward the sideline. Lavonte David gave him a hard enough shove to warrant a flag, and that cost his team their victory.

Nick Folk closed out the game with a 48-yard field goal that will go down in Jets team history as one of the best conclusions ever in a home opener. Moments earlier, Tampa Bay was up 17-15 thanks to their own field goal.

New York's one-point margin of victory is proof that anything can happen on any given Sunday, and all defensive personnel on football teams all across the world can learn a lesson from the Tampa Bay loss. The message is simple: you can chase a guy out of bounds all you want, but don't ever hit him or push him once he's stepped off the field of play.

The same advice could be given to Green Bay's Clay Matthews. The Packers linebacker went one step further than David Sunday when he clotheslined San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick on the sideline in the second quarter of their season opener.

The resulting melee created mass confusion on the part of the officials as they allowed off-setting penalties from both teams to reward the 49ers with an extra down they weren't actually entitled to. Instead of facing a fourth down situation where only a field goal would make sense, San Francisco took the third down replay in stride and scored a touchdown.

Though the Packers loss might be blamed more on the refs than on Matthews' mistake, it's another lesson in respecting boundaries. Sidelines are marked with huge white stripes for a reason. Defenders across the NFL should spend some more time on sideline drills this week in honor of the Packers and Buccaneers.

As much as linebackers, cornerbacks, and defensive linemen love to contribute to their teams with big hits and key tackles, it's sometimes much more important to know when not to engage in the kind of contact that's sure to earn a penalty. One player's seemingly insignificant action that draws a flag could wind up being the reason the whole team loses a game in the NFL.

Even considering the referee error in San Francisco's favor, that situation would never be in play without Matthews and his over-aggressive launching at a quarterback scampering out of bounds.

The moral of the story is that when it comes to the edge of the field, think twice if you don't want your team to pay the price.


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