Hochuli the center of controversy again

Referee Ed Hochuli was back on the field Sunday and he had another controversial call. Hochuli, who may have cost the San Diego Chargers a game earlier this year with a terrible call late in the game, flagged defensive end Julius Peppers on Sunday for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Matt Ryan nullifying an interception return for a touchdown by Richard Marshall on the opening drive.

Replays showed Peppers barely grazed Ryan's helmet and the call appeared to be a little, well, ticky-tacky. It appeared Peppers actually led with his shoulder, not his helmet.

"Ed came over and explained to me, he said that I hit him with my helmet," Peppers said. "He said I hit him with my helmet in his head and that's what he called. It wasn't really roughing, late hit. It was just my helmet hit his helmet, so it was just one of those calls that, you know, player safety is what that was about.

"I'm not trying to hit him with my helmet. I'm not trying to hurt him, but you know, it's football so I'm going for the tackle so helmets are going to get hit sometimes."

Fans booed loudly when the play was shown on the video boards at Bank of America Stadium.

Said coach John Fox: "I can't comment, No. 1. But No. 2, I didn't really see it. I saw the replay, and I wasn't real fond of it then."

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