Last week during the opening game of the new NFL season between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, quarterback Cam Newton took several helmet-to-helmet hits during the game to a point where people questioned if he should be taken out for concussion protocol.
Many criticized the referee's failure to recognise the danger Newton was in with multiple hits to the head, so this week's Thursday night game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets started off a lot different. Especially when quarterback Tyrod Taylor went down after a hard helmet-to-helmet hit.
Late in the third quarter, Taylor took a hard hit to the head during a play, so hard that it looked like he was out of it for a brief moment as his body lied motionless on the floor. He managed to get himself off the floor, but referee Ed Hochuli made the decision to take the Bills' signal-caller out of the game for concussion assessment, to which his head coach Rex Ryan was grateful for.
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He said after the game according to NFL.com: "(The refs) told me he took a good shot and, you know what, I certainly get that. This league should be about protecting players and Hochuli explained that to me. I certainly understand that and I'm all for that."
Taylor himself even stated he was fine with the Hochuli initiating the protocol, as he said: "Just protocol. I got hit. Ed said he thought I was a little woozy (on) the ground and they put me in protocol. You never want to come out in the middle of a series, especially in a close game, big game like this. But I understand it's protocol, so I have to deal with it."
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On the face of it, the hits on Newton last week were dealt with very different than the ones on Taylor this week. The Panthers have stated Newton went under the proper concussion evaluation, the only difference being it took place on the field, not on the sidelines, but if you had watched the game you wouldn't be so sure any protocol happened.
Still, the referees made the right decision with Taylor to send him off the field for a few plays for evaluation, as the safety of the players should always come first.