Smackdown: Tommie Harris vs. Deuce Lutui

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui decked Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris twice before Harris threw the punch resulting in his ejection Sunday.

Lutui's actions were within the rules. Harris' were not. Harris


Harris' ejection following only the fourth play from scrimmage followed this play-by-play sequence:

  1. The Cardinals threw the ball on first down. Nothing of note happened.

  2. Lutui shoved Bears defensive lineman Marcus Harrison after the play. Harris and Lutui made no contact. Harris hit Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner legally after Warner threw the ball.

  3. The Cardinals threw again, this time completing a 23-yard pass to Steve Breaston. Lutui decked Harris during the play, then hit Harris again as the defensive tackle tried to get up. The second hit might have been unnecessary. Any defensive lineman would have been ticked off even though Lutui did not appear to violate rules.

  4. Lutui quickly pushed Harris at the start of the Cardinals' fourth play, a run. Harris was engaged with center Lyle Sendlein and could not see Lutui. Lutui blocked linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer on the play. Replays did not show what happened immediately next, only Harris' fateful punch to Lutui's facemask while Lutui was down on the ground.

The punch appeared more dramatic from the press box than on replays. Lutui had no noticeable marks on his face after the game. He did not miss any plays.