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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Closer look at Golden Tate's crushing block

By Mike Sando

The memorable block Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate unleashed Sunday launched Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee onto his back.

It also freed quarterback Russell Wilson for a 14-yard scramble on a second-and-12 play early in the fourth quarter.

Was the hit within the rules? Replacement officials did not penalize Tate for the block. The NFL has not yet announced whether Tate would incur a fine. I suspect he will based on the following factors:
What was Tate supposed to do, let Lee make the tackle? That is a common and reasonable question. Tate could have delivered a legal block by using his shoulder or arms to strike Lee in the upper body, beneath the neck/head area. That is my interpretation of the play, anyway. The league will offer its view at some point.

For reference, the rules prohibit contact against a defenseless player when it includes "forcibly hitting the defenseless player's head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or graspoing him; or lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top-crown or forehead/hairline parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player's body."