The Ahmad Brooks hit on Drew Brees is the center of discussion
The discussion is about where defensive players are allowed to hit the QB, referring to the upper body area. Brooks targeted the right area and the hit landed solidly but was penalized for what happened after the hit. The tackle would have resulted in a sack which would have won the game for the 49ers, who eventually lost to the Saints 23-20. However, as Brooks tackled Brees, he moved into the infamous 'head and neck' area, which resulted in a penalty.
49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on KNBR 680-AM that the hit was totally legit and Brooks should not have been penalized.
"In real time, he hit the guy in the right place. You talk about the strike zone, when you hit quarterbacks. He hit him within the strike zone,” he said. “Then the impact of the hit and everything that preceded it was just the natural flow of the play. So for him to be penalized for that, I think is wrong. And if it's the right call, then it's a flaw in the rule."
The foul was called after Brooks made the tackle in which his right arm went across the upper body area of the quarterback and went around Bree’s neck after hitting his shoulder. As per the rules, this resulted in a personal foul, 15 yard penalty.
But vice president of Officiating of the league, Dean Blandino said that the call was right and Brooks arm went around the neck of the quarterback who was clearly defenceless.
"You can't make forcible contact to the head or the neck area, even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up. If there's force to that contact, it's a foul,” he said. “Watch the initial contact, maybe around the shoulder, but it rides up into the neck area and brings the quarterback down with force."
Fangio wasn’t pleased with the call and defended his linebacker, saying he was larger than the quarterback and the impact definitely looked ugly but was legal.
"When a 265-pound guy hits a much smaller guy, there's going to be impact, there's going to be head-whip. ... I definitely don't want to take the aggressiveness away from our players,” he said. “He was being aggressive legally on the impact of the hit."