Penalty in Chiefs-49ers game shows impact of NFL’s new low block rule

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The NFL greatly expanded the rule against blocks below the waist this offseason, and in Saturday night’s Chiefs-49ers game, we got a look at how significant that change will be.

On a play that would have looked perfectly normal to anyone who hadn’t read the new rule, 49ers offensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi was attempting to block Chiefs safety Will Parks on an outside run. Parks went low in an attempt to avoid Kaufusi and make the tackle, and because Parks hit Kaufusi low, Parks was flagged for an illegal low block, a 15-yard penalty.

Former NFL player Tim Ryan, calling the TV broadcast of the game, noted that for a smaller defensive back trying to take on a bigger offensive lineman, making it illegal to go low makes it incredibly difficult to beat the block.

“This is gonna change the perimeter run game and the screen game,” Ryan said. “Last year that wasn’t a penalty. This year it is. . . . Get out of the way or get knocked out.”

As former NFL referee Terry McAulay wrote on Twitter of a defensive back’s dilemma if he can’t go low on a much bigger offensive lineman, “Not sure what he is supposed to do.”

Defensive backs will have to figure out what they’re supposed to do, because the new rule could be a significant change to the way they do their jobs.

7 responses to “Penalty in Chiefs-49ers game shows impact of NFL’s new low block rule

  1. Couldn’t believe my eyes when I watched the replay. Even the crew on the Chiefs broadcast team, including Trent Green, didn’t think that was a penalty. If that’s an example of what this new rule looks like, it’s a seriously bad thing.

  2. Another rule to help offenses and the teams who understand this the best will be the ones who will take the most advantage of this.
    2021’s version of the pass interference rule.
    This will be called inconsistently.
    At one point it will change the outcome of a game.
    Any defense with speed at the linebacker position (someone who can get around the pulling guard before too many yards are given up) will be the best equipped to handle it

  3. If that is the correct interpretation of how the rule is supposed to be called then it’s a terrible rule. Dude literally fell to the ground while trying to get around a huge lineman to make a tackle. He didn’t even try and “block” him.

  4. I guess you forget about the no call later in the game where a 49ers player went and swept the legs out from a Chiefs player. How cone that wasn’t called for a low block, he literally went for the legs.

  5. The NFL is brilliant at growing interest in their game/product with rule changes. This one is designed to get more exciting edge play. Teams like Chiefs (Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman), 49ers, Ravens, Browns (Beckham and Landry, Panthers (McCaffery), Cardinals (QB and WRs), and Saints (Taysom Hill tricks etc) will show why this rule change will be great for the game. Higher scores and rushing yards and YAC equals exciting play and more eys on the game. NFL is ran really well and the other leagues need to innovate through rule changes as well as the NFL does.

    Go Chiefs!!!

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