Steelers S Sean Davis Fined $24,309 For His Hit On Chiefs WR Chris Conley

As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis has been fined $24,309 by the NFL for his fourth quarter hit on Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley during Sunday’s Divisional Round playoff game.

While Conley was attempting to dive to catch a pass from Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith near the Steelers goal-line, Davis hit the wide receiver in his head and neck area with his lowered right shoulder. The hit forced an incompleted pass and Conley remained down on the ground injured for several minutes.

“We work extremely hard to play within the rules because that increases our chances of winning,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday of Davis’ hit. “We work hard at lowering our target. We understand that it’s strict liability on the defender, but we also understand that due to circumstances sometimes that’s just tough. We all have tough aspects of our job and I think that Sean understands that element of safety play in today’s NFL. And I think all of those things happen in a discussion in a quick fashion in stadium, in game”

Davis was flagged for Unnecessary Roughness on the play and the Chiefs ultimately scored a touchdown five plays later. The Steelers rookie safety was able to quickly put that penalty behind him, however, as he broke up the ensuing game-tying two-point pass attempt in the end zone.

Davis will reportedly appeal his latest fine and even if it isn’t overturned, he won’t be required to pay the full amount being as it exceeds 25% of his weekly pay.

The Steelers drafted Davis in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland and after an impressive first season he was voted the Steelers Rookie of the Year by the Pittsburgh media.

  • Sam Clonch

    Defense is putting the HAMMER on teams this post-season. Don’t even worry about it Sean, the PO game check covers it, and it’s money you wouldn’t have anyways! Keep making plays everyone!!!

  • Jay Clam 2021

    I don’t get why the league doesn’t just fine guys 25% or whatever amount they set under 25% of the weekly pay instead of fining a huge amount and going through an appeal lol. Seems like a waste of time.

  • Sam Clonch

    Question: If you only have to pay (at maximum) 25% of your game check, and the game check for division round playoffs is $25k, is the max fine basically $6,250?

  • Jay Clam 2021

    I believe that’s how it works, which is why I made my comment below. Makes no sense to go through an appeal process lol

  • Reezy

    He leads with the shoulder and not the head… what is he really supposed to do there?

  • Sam Clonch

    Still a fine if he hits him in the head with his shoulder (or arms, ala Burfict on AB). I don’t believe it was intentional, so I don’t know if there IS anything you can do. 2 guys moving super fast, fraction of a second situation. Just unfortunate result. Luckily he was fine.

  • stan

    Davis is really lucky he didn’t end of the goat of the game. That play really hurt the Steelers. I understand trying to jar the ball out in that situation but you have to be able pull up. I hope he’s learned.

  • will

    “Money you wouldn’t have anyways.” What does that mean????

  • Nolrog

    That’s going to get called 100% of the time, unless it’s against the Steelers. Love the big hits, but have to deliver them smartly. This day and age, they will flag just about every big hit even if it’s legal.

  • Sam Clonch

    Well, if he wasn’t in the playoffs he wouldn’t be getting a check at all. As it was, $25k for a divisional playoff game that he wouldn’t be making if he played for any of the other 24 teams that had the week off!

  • NW86

    The standard salary and bonuses that are in players’ contracts are paid out over the 17-week season. Players on teams that make the playoffs make extra money (a set amount for everyone – not sure how much it is though) for each playoff game. He’s talking about the extra check all Steelers players are getting each week right now.

  • Sam Clonch


  • Ray

    I think its because thats the figure outlined in the CBA and if he has another offense the amount goes up. I agree its dumb but I think its to show consistency. Not defending btw

  • JNick

    You can’t tackle him in that instance without hitting his head, so the other alternative is to avoid hitting him and let him go.

  • pcantidote

    Until NFL DBs learn how to use crystal balls and are able to precisely predict where a guys head is going to end up these kind of hits are unavoidable.

  • Ray

    He doesn’t do that the Chiefs have the ball at the 1 or score on that play. It didn’t hurt them

  • Ray

    Is it a penalty? Yes. Should it have been called? Yes. But Conley is going down and Sean Davis is trying to knock the ball out. If he just stopped or jumped over him I wouldn’t want him out there. Thats going full speed with a players target area lowering.

  • Sam Clonch

    Absolutely. You’re shooting bullets at bullets, and telling them you can’t hit the tip, only the body. It’s not realistic to think you can be that precise in that situation.

  • 6 ring circus

    You can explain it to him but, you can’t understand it for him, lol

  • RickM

    But as someone said to me, how do you deliver them smartly when you have no idea if the receiver will dive for the ball or not? I get this is the call for player safety, but hits that were smart to begin with (i.e. into the chest) can turn on a dime depending on how the receiver catches the ball. Do you just have to keep your own head up?

  • 6 ring circus

    I’m glad this isn’t college ball, where they would’ve cited him for targeting and ejected him. Then, who would’ve broken up that 2 point conversion play? They only other thing he could have done is let him catch it and try to strip it out after the possible catch. That’s totally against instinctual defensive football play.

  • Charles Haines

    Are you joking? You want a safety to “pull up” on a receiver trying to make a catch at the goal line? In a playoff game? I wouldn’t want that safety on my team.

  • LucasY59

    watching the GIF it looks like he couldve (possibly) avoided the flag/fine by making a play on the ball instead of making the hit (but I also understand it is a split second decision and he was just a little too far away to have a good play on the ball and the hit was a more certain way of keeping the receiver from making the catch) the penalty was almost as bad as allowing the completion since it gave them a 1st down at the 12

    IF Davis made a play for the ball it would be more incidental contact instead of illegal contact (defender has a right to go after the ball) so he needs to have his arms out and try to break up the pass, instead of tucking his arms and initiating contact (…that is around the head/neck area because of how the receiver is trying to catch the ball) the official might not throw the flag (but they are basically trained to throw the flag no matter what, so there is no way to avoid the penalty (and eventual fine) unless he stops and lets the WR catch a TD…)

  • LucasY59

    its kinda a lose lose situation for him, even making a play on the ball still results in head/shoulder contact (when the receiver is leaping at hin HEAD first) only way to avoid the penalty/fine would be to stop and let him catch it, the other part that makes it no win is that the penalty results in something similar to a completion

  • Consistent

    When Shazier caught his interception that game I felt the OL who tackled him should had been flagged for a helmet to helmet hit(and now fined)that seemed pretty obvious.

  • LucasY59

    Looking at this (and Dupree’s penalty/fine in the previous game) makes me think they really need to adjust the rules even more,

    they need to have a 5 yard incidental contact flag (when the offensive player is in a position where the only way a defensive player can hit them is around the head/neck area) if a player is leaping head first or ducks last second, the Defender is in such a no win situation it is hardly fair, use replay and determine if there is anything the defensive player could do differently (without totally giving up any chance of making a play) and if they cant (no time to change direction/target area) it shouldnt be such a harsh penalty that it gives the offense a huge advantage (1st down and a bunch of yards) a 5 yard penalty would result in 4 and 4 in Davis’ situation which is much more appropriate IMO (and I would say the same if the roles were reversed and it was Eric Berry making the same play on AB, so dont call me a homer)

    there could also be the illegal contact to the head/neck that they already have and in cases like confict in last years playoffs where he takes a step (after the pass is uncatchable) and then leaves his feet and launches into a offensive player that should be a 15 yard and 1st down

    both penalties should help lower the amount of head to head hits but doesnt over-penalize a defender for something they dont have much control to avoid

  • LucasY59

    using replay on all flags where head to head is suspected is also necessary (they dont even need to blow the whistle kinda like with PI so if something happens after the supposed penalty they can continue the play and then use the flag/replay to confirm if it actually happened, they are supposed to do similar things on turnovers as well)

    college football seems to have it right with targeting (at least from a replay standpoint) but the automatic ejection is too harsh (one somewhat minor penalty can have a big impact on the game) give them 2 chances (like the league has started with the new rule for unsportsmanlike penalties, which already has loopholes since some fouls are just personal fouls and are just as bad as the unsportsmanlike ones, but the player gets out of it because they have one of each or just multiple PFs and rarely get 2 unsportsmanlikes) if you get two targeting (illegal contact) its an ejection, still makes it so one (somewhat honest) mistake doesnt take you out of the game (ejections could also be related to degree of injury the penalty causes) if a player illegally takes a player out for the whole game on one play they shouldnt get a 2nd chance, and should be out for as long as the player they hurt is out, but I could see how that could lead to flopping and dramatization by offensive players and again some injuries happen on legal hits so it would be hard to enforce

  • FATCAT716

    I think that amount sounds more harsh

  • Sdale

    Which is what he tried to do in this case I think. Looks like he comes in with his body turned sideways, but he still hits the receiver’s head area. Even when you do what you can, sometimes it just ends up a penalty. No fault. That’s just today’s NFL.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    That was rough.

  • SouthernSteel

    Agree…I was yelling at TV!

  • Rocksolid20

    Receiver had already started to drop the ball before being hit . Davis was moving so fast , there is no way to slow up or avoid that hit .

  • Brendon Glad

    I attended the game, and to the naked eye, it seemed like a great play. Certainly not dirty.
    After coming home and watching it on TV, yes it was a penalty. But an unfortunate one. A guy diving…ball in air…we all know the lament of the situation. I hope Davis keeps playing as he has been playing. Same as Dupree’s unfortunate helmet-to-helmet the week before as the QB made a diving throw that looked like something an MLB shortstop would do.
    I dislike that they take such big amounts of money away from people on those kinds of things. Can’t Merton Hanks understand the complexity of the hitting situation there?

  • Jim Foles

    For the Steelers and Against the Steelers are two different types of calls. Proven over and over for years now.

  • nutty32

    “Strict liability” – great way for Tomlin to explain the situation and end all the analysis of what happens, intent, fairness, etc.
    It’s the only way to change the technique of using the head. In the 70’s only Jack Tatum was ahead of his time and lead with the head as his standard intended technique. Other head shots were mainly unintended “accidents.”