NFL deems hit on Bengals punter Kevin Huber illegal
"Huber, he's a punter. And the key is he's defenseless throughout the down," Blandino said.
During the first half Steelers return team specialist Terence Garvin landed a huge blindside tackle on Huber as he attempted to seal a hole on a punt return. His feet went off the ground as Huber’s facemask made contact with Garvin’s helmet. Later tests confirmed that the hit was way harder than it looked as he had sustained a fractured vertebrae and a fractured jaw, even though he managed to walk off the field unaided after the tackle. Now the team has shifted his status to injured reserve and his season is all but done for.
Blandino said that he was a defenseless player and should not have been hit.
"Even though he's pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection. You can't hit him in the head or neck, and you can't use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body,” he said.
Even after the play the referees did not give any sort of penalty and Brown ended up going 67 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers were already going strong for their lead and that put them at 21-0. Although the Bengals did stage a comeback they did not make it far enough to win the match, which the Steelers won 20-30.
Blandino pointed out that it was obvious that the hit was illegal and it was a wonder why a penalty was not called by the referees.
"You'll see the close-up where you can see the contact to the head or neck area," Blandino said. "So this will certainly be a point of emphasis this week, especially with our referees who are responsible for the punter on plays like this. We want to flag hits like that."
And now Blandino has declared the hit to be illegal. Although the match is over, chances are high that the league will fine Garvin for the illegal hit. The fine may come any time this week.