Week 17 has its entry into the baffling world of calls and non-calls by NFL officials.
This time it involves a violent helmet blow to the head of Houston Texans quarterback AJ McCarron.
With the Texans locked into the AFC’s No. 4 seed, head coach Bill O’Brien gave starting quarterback Deshaun Watson the week off, making way for McCarron’s first start of the season against the Tennessee Titans.
Toward the end of the first half, McCarron was on the receiving end of a brutal blow to the head at the end of a run. With Houston trailing 14-7, McCarron took off on a first-down scramble before sliding at the Texans’ 42-yard line.
After he had given himself up, Titans linebacker Jaylon Brown dove head first and made direct contact to McCarron’s helmet with the crown of his own.
No flag, no ejection
It was an obvious personal foul and a violent blow that could warrant consideration for an ejection. Officials called for neither despite McCarron’s rightful protest.
A penalty would have moved the Texans to the Titans 43-yard-line with 25 seconds left in the half, in range for a 60-yard field goal attempt with time to get closer.
Instead the Texans took a half-ending sack on the next play.
In addition to the obvious lack of protection for McCarron’s safety, the lack of a call was one that could have reverberated in the AFC playoff picture, but ultimately didn’t affect the outcome of the game. The Titans went on to a 35-14 win to clinch a playoff spot.
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