Bill O’Brien takes a lot of heat in Houston for his quarterback decisions. He shouldn’t be blamed for allowing Tom Savage to go back into the game after a hard hit from Elvis Dumervil left him dazed and his hands visibly quivering, leading fans to fear he’d suffered not only a concussion but a seizure.
So says the concussed QB himself.
“I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers, I’m doing fine,” Savage tweeted Monday. “Even though I cannot speak to media due to the protocol, I will say this: nobody cares more about his players than OB.”
O’Brien said he didn’t see video of Savage shaking and didn’t even realize he’d been hit by Dumervil or had slammed his head on the ground because his quarterback was 50 yards away and hidden behind a dozen players.
Those who are responsible for making sure players stay healthy are facing scrutiny, with the NFL and the NFLPA launching a joint investigation into whether concussion protocol was properly followed.
League spokesman Joe Lockhart said the probe will also seek to find flaws in the process that could lead to a better process to lessen the chances of something like this happening again.
The NFL’s concussion protocol came under heavy criticism after it failed Savage on Sunday in Houston’s 26-16 loss to the 49ers. Only after Savage briefly returned to the game did the medical crew determine the quarterback did, indeed, have a concussion and remove him.
Lockhart wouldn’t speculate whether any officials saw the video of Savage’s hit before clearing him to return to action. He said spotters do have the ability to send video to “relevant personnel on the field.”
“That is a question that we will look at in this review of the incident,” Lockhart said.
The league’s lengthy to-do list Monday also included a review of the chaotic and unruly ending to the Seahawks-Jaguars game .
With the Jaguars taking the first of two kneel-downs in victory formation in the closing seconds of their 30-24 victory, Seahawks defensive tackle Michael Bennett dived at center Brandon Linder’s knees, setting off a skirmish. Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch and Leonard Fournette went after Bennett.
More pushing and shoving ensued after Blake Bortles’ next kneel-down, and Seahawks defensive end Quinton Jefferson was tossed.
As Jefferson approached the tunnel beneath a section of rowdy fans, somebody threw something at him. He ripped off his helmet, pushed aside security guards and starting jawing with the spectators. Jefferson tried to get to them, but the wall was too high. He was eventually pulled back by his shoulder pads and escorted to his locker room.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who was flagged for going onto the field when he walked into the Seahawks’ huddle to settle down his players, said, “We have to be more poised than that.”
He also said Jefferson “just kind of lost it.”
“Somebody poured a beer on his head walking out of the stadium or something,” Carroll said. “I told him that’s pro football. They pay to get in. They can do whatever they want, I guess, so that’s what happened.”
The league is reviewing not only the chippiness on the field but whether the Jaguars stadium personnel did enough to keep things orderly because of fans throwing things.
“The home team does have responsibility for security and we work closely with all 32 of our clubs on those issues,” said Lockhart. “We are going to be looking at and talking to both clubs about a variety of things out of that game, particularly at the end, where we had a series of ejections and on-field issues, and then leaving the field. We will be working with the club to identify those who might have been involved in throwing objects or acting outside the rules that we expect from our fans.”
Other notable calls in Week 14 included Saints coach Sean Payton ‘s calling out of the officials in his team’s 20-17 loss at Atlanta.
The Saints lost their last chance to get the ball back when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Payton, who had angrily rushed onto the field to communicate with an official, gave the Falcons a first down. That enabled them to run out the clock. The next day, Payton said the officiating “has been a problem all year and it’s something that’s going to have to be addressed from a leadership standpoint at the top in our league office.”
The Colts blew two chances to win the snow bowl in regulation at Buffalo. First, receiver Kamar Aiken’s pass interference negated Jack Doyle’s 2-point conversion catch that would have given them an 8-7 lead. Instead, Adam Vinatieri had to kick a 43-yard extra point to tie it that snaked its way through the elements.
Then, after an interception, Vinatieri was wide from the same spot with 1 second left, sending the game to overtime, which Buffalo won 13-7 on LeSean McCoy’s 21-yard TD run.
After getting the ball back in the final minute of regulation, the Colts ran just one play, a 3-yard run by Frank Gore, before coach Chuck Pagano elected to have Jacoby Brissett spike the ball with 6 seconds remaining.
Pagano blamed himself, saying he could have run a few more plays to cut the distance for Vinatieri.
“Yeah, I screwed up. That’s on me,” Pagano said.
In Denver, the Broncos snapped an eight-game losing streak, their longest in a half century, with a 23-0 win over the Jets. But safety Justin Simmons sustained a high left ankle sprain while chest-bumping Brandon Marshall after the linebacker’s strip sack.
“He turned his ankle on Brandon’s right foot. Simple as that,” coach Vance Joseph said Monday. “So, what do you say to Justin? Don’t celebrate? Don’t have fun? It’s just fluky.”
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