The play occurred in the first quarter when Green Bay’s Randall Cobb returned the first punt of the game down the right sideline. Johnson was one of the last lines of defense and took a good angle to make a play on Cobb. However, Taylor came out of nowhere and put a legal hit on Johnson. The reason why the hit was legal is because Johnson was facing downfield, which is where Taylor came from, and the timing could not have been more perfect.
The Lambeau Field faithful roared as the hit occurred and reacted similarly as the replay of the hit was shown over and over again on the big screen that towers over the stadium. FOX commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman praised the block as a solid legal hit. Apparently, the league disagreed as they claimed the blow to be an “illegal blindside block.”
Considering Taylor made contact with Johnson when their bodies were facing each other means the hit was legal. The fact Johnson’s head was not looking forward is irrelevant. The hit was not helmet-to-helmet nor did Taylor have his hands or arms anywhere near Johnson’s head. This kind of block happens at least once in every game on a punt or kick return and no one ever appears to get fined.
What has to be the most bizarre part about Taylor getting fined is that there was no penalty on the play. Typically, if a player gets penalized on a hard hitting play the NFL will review the occurrence and see if the hit is worthy of a fine or suspension. However, since the referees decided there was nothing wrong with Taylor and Johnson’s collision the league should not get involved. Not to mention, $21,000 is a lot for someone who is making $465,000 in 2012, as well as, makes their living on the gridiron supplying big blocks.
To add salt to the wound, Cobb’s 28-yard return only set up a 44-yard field goal try that Mason Crosby missed.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.