Did Corey Liuget Lay a Dirty Hit on Peyton Manning?

Sean ODonnellContributor IIINovember 11, 2013

Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) sits on the turf after injuring his leg during a pass play in the closing minutes of the Broncos win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Manning did not leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is on an absolute torrid pace in 2013. Through nine games, he has passed for 3,249 yards, 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions for a passer rating of 121.0. Manning is in a dead heat with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who threw for 33 touchdowns through nine games during his record-breaking 50-touchdown performance in 2007.

Manning's season, however, was almost completely derailed during Sunday's contest against the San Diego Chargers.

Towards the end of his fantastic 330-yard, four-touchdown performance, Manning was the victim of a low hit by Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget. The hit left Manning hobbled and in obvious pain.

Despite the hit, Manning is supposed to be fine. However, interim head coach Jack Del Rio has asked the NFL to review the hit, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the hit was within the rules of the NFL. Take a look here:

Striking a quarterback high has always been a concern by NFL officials. However, an illegal low hit was brought to fruition after former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen delivered a season-ending injury to then Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in the Wild Card playoffs in 2006.

Since then, these low hits have been heavily scrutinized. Liuget's hit, however, does not fall into a malicious category.

It seems clear that Liuget was in the midst of a bull rush and his momentum continued forward, causing him to strike Manning's right leg. There was no intent to harm, and Liuget should be cleared of any and all transgressions by the NFL.

This is the circumstance of unfortunate luck when playing at the NFL level. These players are highly trained athletes in top form who play a game in which injuries are commonplace.

Luckily, Manning is not supposed to miss any time after suffering a high ankle sprain and is supposed to start next week against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Mike Klis of The Denver Post.

Chalk this one up to an unfortunate circumstance that ended with a fortunate result.