KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NFL fined a Chiefs player for a second straight week.
Linebacker Tamba Hali incurred a $16,537 fine on Friday for his Week 14 first-quarter hit below the knee area on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton, according to a league spokesman.
The play drew a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
Hali engaged Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer on a pass rush prior to the hit. Hali got by Veldheer’s left shoulder, but subsequently lost balance on his path to Stanton.
Hali’s forward momentum carried him low to Stanton, who was planting to throw the ball. Hali tackled Stanton by wrapping the quarterback’s right ankle with Hali’s shoulders hitting below the right knee area, which prompted the penalty flag.
The league has cracked down on hits below a quarterback’s knee since former Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard ended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s season on the first game of 2008. Brady suffered a torn ACL on Pollard’s low hit.
Meanwhile, Hali joins tight end Travis Kelce as Chiefs players to receive a fine in consecutive weeks.
The NFL fined Kelce $11,025 the previous week for unsportsmanlike conduct. Kelce’s fine came as a result of his vulgar gesture caught on cameras during Week 13’s nationally televised game against the Denver Broncos.
Make no mistake about it.
The Chiefs, losers of three straight games, are fully aware what must happen Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium for any chance at the postseason.
“We’ve got to win pretty much,” defensive tackle Dontari Poe told reporters Friday in the locker room. “I don’t know how else to put it. If we don’t win, it’s not going to look too good. It doesn’t look the best right now so we’ve got to win; we’ve got to get in (the playoffs).”
Wide receiver Jason Avant, who joined the team in Week 13, agreed.
“It’s a good thing to be in a spot that the team is in with the opportunity to play in the postseason,” Avant said. “So you have to adapt as fast as you can and be a part of that and also help us get to that destination.”
The Chiefs sit on a 7-6 record and are three games behind the AFC West Division leading Denver Broncos (10-3) and a game behind the San Diego Chargers (8-5).
Denver owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs in the event of a tie based on two regular-season wins this season.
The Chiefs, however, are alive for a wildcard berth.
ANOTHER NEXT MAN UP SCENARIO
Rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game with a concussion suffered during Wednesday’s practice.
Gaines was limited Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, but put in limited work Friday leading to his game designation on the injury report. Doubtful indicates a “75 percent chance will not play,” according to league guidelines.
The Chiefs have options to consider, of course.
“Well, I mean (Jamell) Fleming, Coop (Marcus Cooper), Chris (Owens),” coach Andy Reid told reporters Friday. “They’ve all worked in there.”
Owens is utilized mostly as a nickel cornerback, and he’ll likely maintain that role.
The two top candidates are Fleming and Cooper.
Fleming took over the starting job from Cooper in Week 7 before going down with a hamstring injury in Week 8. The Chiefs turned to Ron Parker, and then Phillip Gaines since Fleming’s injury.
Fleming is healthy and no longer appears on the injury report.
Cooper has virtually vanished on defense since losing his starting job and hasn’t logged a defensive snap in five straight games. The second-year pro now mostly contributes on special teams.