Patriots lose TD on controversial illegal blindside block call
The New England Patriots had a special teams touchdown taken off the board in their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday following a highly questionable call on a punt return.
Gunner Olszewski ripped off an 82-yard return for what would have been his first ever NFL touchdown, but linebacker Anfernee Jennings was called for an illegal blindside block. Many felt the play was clean, as Cardinals linebacker Ezekiel Turner was close enough to Olszewski to make the tackle and should have seen Jennings coming.
Patriots get a TD called back after a player gets flagged for a blindside block on a player that’s actually quite close to making the tackle pic.twitter.com/T0G7INvTAp
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) November 29, 2020
Here’s another angle of the play:
— Tyler Milliken (@tylermilliken_) November 29, 2020
The NFL made all blindside blocks illegal beginning last season. An illegal blindside block is defined as “when a player initiates a block when he is moving toward or parallel to his own end line and makes forcible contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm or shoulder.”
Based on the definition of the rule, you can see why the flag was thrown. Though, you could make the argument that Jennings actually stopped dead in his tracks and wasn’t really moving toward his own end line.
In any event, the touchdown was taken off the board and the Patriots had to begin their drive deep in their own territory. They ended up with a field goal to tie the game at 10-10.
Believe it or not, that probably isn’t the most aggravating blindside block call we have seen. That happened on a play in the Detroit Lions-Houston Texans game last year, which you can see here. The rule itself is probably more frustrating for fans than the application of it.