DENVER -- Before Denver Broncos safety John Lynch limped off the field, he started yelling toward the Atlanta huddle, upset that he got hurt on a
block made 30 yards away from the play.
Falcons coach Jim Mora's response: "What goes around comes around."
It was a subtle dig at the Broncos, who for the second straight week find themselves embroiled in a debate over the fine line between what's legal and
what's moral in the NFL.
"I don't think etiquette and football really go together -- but there's a code of conduct," Lynch said. "Thirty yards away from the ball, I don't
think that's necessary."
At issue was receiver Brian Finneran's block on Lynch in last week's game. Finneran broke the bone above Lynch's tailbone when he hit the safety on
the side. Lynch conceded the hit was legal, but maybe not necessary.
The Finneran-Lynch imbroglio was a continuation of last week's debate, when Broncos offensive lineman George Foster was accused of a cheap shot on
Bengals defender Tony Williams. Foster cut blocked Williams, broke his ankle and ended his season. The block, while legal, also was away from the play
and was made while Williams was looking the other way.
A number of coaches around the league weighed in, chiding the Broncos and saying the play was unnecessary. Among those not chiming in were the
Falcons, who use the same blocking technique under the tutelage of former Broncos line coach Alex Gibbs. No cut-blocking injuries occurred in last
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan vigorously defended his players last week, saying everyone in the league uses cut blocks. This week -- after his player
was victimized by a different kind of legal-but-unnecessary play -- the coach wasn't in position to complain about the Lynch injury.
"It was one of those blind-side shots that catches you off guard," Shanahan said. "It was a legal shot."
The Broncos originally said Lynch would be out for two to four weeks, although he was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game because of his insistence
he can play.
"I've always tried, when I'm injured, to be hopeful, optimistic," Lynch said.
If Lynch can't play, Nick Ferguson will start in his spot.