KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was knocked out of Sunday’s matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars after taking a hit from safety Andre Cisco that put him into the concussion protocol.
The play initially drew a penalty flag for a helmet-to-helmet foul from the referee crew, but after discussions, head referee Brad Rogers picked the flag up and deemed there was no penalty on the play.
In a pool report after the game, Rogers said the crew decided the contact wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty.
“After discussion on the field, the two officials came in and determined that the defender has set and braced for impact and hit shoulder into shoulder, they didn’t feel it was a use of helmet foul,” Rogers said.
Post-game reaction from coaches and players disagreed with the referee’s assessment, specifically with the emphasis raised on head injuries this season after the incident with Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Rogers was then asked about a penalty being called for a hit on a defenseless receiver instead of a helmet-to-helmet call, but said there was no use of the helmet.
“He was in a defenseless posture, but they didn’t feel that there was any use of helmet foul on that play,” Rogers said. “He’s subject to a defensive player foul because the player is making the catch. We didn’t feel that it was a foul because he’s hitting shoulder to shoulder.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was not happy with the decision and disagreed that the helmet was not used.
“What I tried to explain to the officials that guys don’t get hit in the shoulder and lay around like that right there. There’s more to it – somewhere, the head was involved,” Reid said.
Fellow Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling also took a big hit that momentarily took him out of the game later.
He chimed in after the game on Twitter with a video of both plays that came against the same Jaguars defender.
Maybe I don’t understand the rules of targeting, helmet to helmet, or unnecessary roughness. Y’all protecting us?@MVS__11
Valdez-Scantling made his way back into the game, but JuJu was placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol. He will continue through evaluations and will have to be cleared before returning to practice and, eventually, before playing in a game.
The Chiefs travel to Los Angeles to take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football in Week 11.