Christian Ponder’s pretty face came out of Saturday’s game looking not so pretty. Most of the damage came courtesy of Reed Doughty who early in the first quarter flat-out smashed Ponder after the QB had given himself up by sliding. Doughty was flagged on the play, but everyone knew right away that would not be the end of the story. On Friday the rest of the bad news came for Doughty: the NFL has fined him $15,000 for the dirty hit.
A lot of these fines are silly and excessive but the one on Doughty is totally justified. QBs who slide have an expectation that no one is going to come flying in and try to crush their skull to a pulp. Ponder’s nose was bloodied by Doughty’s hit, but that was only a precursor to the damage he would later receive. In the second half Ponder took a helmet-to-helmet shot from London Fletcher. Ponder suffered a concussion on the play – which, incidentally, came right after the play that took out Adrian Peterson for 9 months – and left the game. Fletcher was not flagged for the hit and has not received a fine.