The NFL handed out their largest fine to a single player this season, yet there was not a flag thrown on the play. Atlanta Falcons fullback Keith Smith was fined $87,418 for unnecessary roughness against the Detroit Lions in Week 3 (via NBC Sports).
While a yellow flag was not thrown at the time, league determined Smith should be disciplined for his actions on the field.
The hit occurred on the first play of the game against the Lions, with the Falcons kicking first. Here is a look at what went down:
Smith is seen leading with his helmet as he blocked Lions' running back Zonovan Knight, who ended up on the ground.
There is still a disparity between what is penalized on the field and what ends up being fined, with this being one of the biggest examples.
It was not the only Falcons fine that came on a non-penalized play. Linebacker Kaden Elliss was fined $16,391 for unnecessary roughness for a third-quarter tackle Lions' receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Just like Smith's situation, there was no laundry on the field when the hit happened.
The Lions went on to defeat the Falcons, 20–6, to improve to 2-1 (they're now 3-1), while Atlanta fell to 2-1 with their first loss of the season.