The NFL's VP of officiating Dean Blandino said last night that the hit by Steelers LB Terence Garvin on Bengals punter Kevin Huber should have been a penalty.
"Huber, he's a punter. And the key is he's defenseless throughout the down. So 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."
The hit fractured Huber's jaw, and an x-ray revealed a cracked vertebra (though it's not clear if that was from an old injury). Expect Garvin's name to be called when fines are announced on Friday. Don't expect the NFL to wipe out the Pittsburgh touchdown that resulted from Garvin's block.
Below, our dive into the complicated rules that explains why punters are always "defenseless players."