When Terrell Suggs came crashing in on LeGarrette Blount, it looked really bad in real time. You just can't dive toward a player's legs like that, I thought. Contrary to what Suggs said after the game, the play was pretty much over. Blount was being pushed back and the pile wasn't moving forward. It did seem quite unnecessary for Suggs to do what he did.
But on second look, Suggs didn't hit Blount as low as it initially appeared live. It was still unnecessary and deserved a flag. But was it dirty? Here's the play itself:
As you see, Suggs' shoulder hits the hip/thigh area and is above Blount's knees. Players are told to target the midsection when tackling. If Blount wasn't being pushed back with his forward progress being stopped, it's a perfectly legal hit.
Suggs' take after the game was this, via The Baltimore Sun: "He was running, he was still up and he was moving the pile. I assessed the play, and that was the only way I could get him down without him gaining more yards. I wasn't trying to get him hurt. I was just trying to get the big guy down."
(The pile was moving the opposite way. But it's hard to fault a player for wanting to get the opposing guy down.)
Blount's take: "I don't know what [Suggs] was doing. I don't know what he was thinking. He's known to be a dirty player. As long as he does that he's going to continue to have people come after him and do whatever we did to get in his head."
(If I'm Blount, I'm probably upset, too. You're moving backward and then all of a sudden someone comes crushes your body hard in the opposite direction.)
Unnecessary, yes. Dirty? That's a tough one. I'll let you guys handle that answer.