“Blindside block” in Lions-Texans game creates confusion

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The new blindside block rule is telling replay review of pass interference to hold its beer.

With multiple questionable, at best, applications of the new procedure for reviewing pass interference calls and non-calls during the 2019 preseason, the new, sweeping banishment of all blindside blocks is creating some confusion.

It happened on Saturday, in the Lions-Texans game. Lions guard Oday Aboushi, while blocking for quarterback David Fales, noticed that Texans linebacker Jamal Davis had looped completely around right tackle David Wiggins, allowing Davis to chase Fales from behind. So Aboushi turned and blocked Davis with Aboushi’s shoulder.

It wasn’t a blindside block in the way the term would be commonly interpreted, because Davis saw it coming. However, it was a blindside block in the way that the NFL defines it. Earlier this year, the league made it a violation of the rules “if a player initiates a block when he is moving toward or parallel to his own end line and makes contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm or shoulder.”

The rule doesn’t carve out situations where the opponent sees the hit coming. Instead, it prohibits a blocker from blocking with his helmet, forearm, or shoulder while moving in any direction other than toward the opponent’s end line.

And that’s essentially the explanation that NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron supplied when placing on Twitter a clip of the Aboushi hit, which drew a flag for a blindside block.

So what should a player do when a defender is chasing an offensive player toward the defender’s end line? Apparently, the sole options for the offensive player are to use his open palms to make the block or to set a basketball-style screen and basically absorb the football equivalent of a charge, with no penalty whatsoever imposed on the defender for wiping out the offensive player who is just standing there.