Losing to the Ravens on Sunday isn’t the only thing that has the Steelers upset this week. They’re also mad about the way they say Ravens beat them: By using a healthy dose of chop blocks.
Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton accused Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, in particular, of playing dirty. But the officials never flagged the Ravens for any illegal chop blocks, and Hampton said that if the officials aren’t going to protect defensive linemen, he expects offensive linemen to go after him.
“You can get hurt from an illegal chop block, but I guess it isn’t an illegal chop block if they don’t call it,” Hampton told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith noted that chop blocks — when a defensive player who is already being blocked gets hit below the waist by a second player — are illegal, as are cut blocks below the waist from behind. But Smith said he thinks the officials are missing a lot of those blocks.
“They made rules to protect guys from so-called chop blocks,” Smith said. “I don’t know if it is hard for the referees to see that stuff because there are multiple people falling on the ground to determine what happened.”
Added Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke of the Ravens’ tactics, “Some of the things they were doing were questionable rules wise and dangerous.”
Hampton says offensive players have reached the point where they just assume they can take cheap shots at defensive players and get away with it.
“If you can cut a guy when he is engaged and the referee is not calling, why not do it? Hopefully my knees don’t get blown out,” Hampton said.
The NFL has taken a lot of steps toward protecting the heads of receivers and quarterbacks. Referees need to do a better job of protecting the knees of defensive linemen.