FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore expects to receive a fine once again this week, but Moore believes someone else should be penalized for breaking NFL rules in the game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Moore made it clear that he felt Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch grabbed his facemask during Lynch’s rugged, 9-yard catch-and-run during Sunday’s 33-10 win by the Seahawks.
There is plenty of photographic and video evidence to support Moore’s claim.
"Watching the play, he grabbed my facemask," Moore said. "That’s beyond my control as far as making that call."
Lynch seems destined to receive at least a $7,875 fine for violating the facemask rule, although he did not draw a flag on the play.
As for Moore, he was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness after striking Seahawks receiver Golden Tate on what appeared to be a violation of the new rule prohibiting initiating contact with the crown of the helmet.
"I can’t control what they call on the field," Moore said. "I just continue to play football; run to the ball. And whatever happens, happens. But at the same time, I hope the NFL looks at it from a player’s standpoint and just knows that we’re out there playing ball. We don’t try and go after defenseless players and try to play dirty. We’re just playing football."
Moore violated the same crown-of-the-helmet rule in Week 1 and received a $21,000 fine and also was fined $15,750 after Week 8 against Arizona for striking Carson Palmer using the crown of his helmet. According to the NFL fine schedule, repeated crown-of-the-helmet offenses can result in a $42,000 fine. Moore received at least one other fine of $15,750 for unnecessarily striking a defenseless receiver in Week 4 against the New England Patriots.
Moore said he appealed the previous fines and will deal with the results of those appeals at the end of the season. He anticipates appealing whatever fine he is likely to receive this week.
"It was a flag, so I look forward to seeing a letter about that," Moore said. "I’ll deal with it when it happens. Look to appeal it, as every other one. But, you know, I’m going to play every week."
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan previously said he talked to Moore about the hits and used repeat offender Dashon Goldson, a hard-hitting and sometimes reckless safety for Tampa Bay, as an example of how not to approach the game. Goldson received a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, but that suspension was lowered to a $100,000 fine.
Head coach Mike Smith said the latest penalty on Moore was the correct call. Smith also said the team has talked to Moore about his violent style.
"Am I concerned about William's play? William is a very aggressive player," Smith said. "We talk to him all the time about lowering the point of contact; try to hit in the strike zone. ... And if we take the view of making sure that we're hitting in the strike zone, then we're going to take that out of the judgement call that officials make. And oftentimes, those are judgement calls in terms of those bang-bang plays."
Smith was asked if he was worried about Moore being labeled a dirty player.
"Absolutely not. William Moore is not a dirty football player," Smith said. "He doesn't go out targeting players. He plays the game very aggressively. We need to continue to work on his targets. And what I mean by targets, targeting the strike zone. That's what we teach, and that's what we coach here: is above the knee and below the shoulders."