49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who had become a runner once he left the pocket. Earlier Sunday, Jaguars safety Andre Cisco was not penalized and not ejected for a similar hit on Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Maybe it’s that one is a quarterback and the other is a receiver. Maybe it is that one was a stand-alone game on Sunday Night Football and the other was in the 1 p.m. ET time slot.
Officials initially threw a flag on Cisco but picked it up, and referee Brad Rogers later told a pool reporter that they decided it was a “shoulder-to-shoulder” hit.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said on his weekly radio show Monday that he normally supports “letting them play,” but he thought the hit that concussed Smith-Schuster crossed the line.
“I’m usually a guy that says let them play,” Mahomes said on The Drive on 610 Sports Radio. “Defenses are put in tough positions to try to make plays on the football. But anytime there’s helmet-to-helmet that’s just stuff that we want to try as best we can to get out of football, because we want to protect these guys.
“I understand defensive guys are trying to do their best to stay away from it, but at the same time, you want to do whatever you can to get that stuff out of there because you don’t want anyone getting hurt at the end of the day.”
Mahomes took some responsibility for putting Smith-Schuster in position to take the vicious hit. Smith-Schuster will have to clear concussion protocol before he can return.
“Obviously, we don’t want that to happen, and I take it upon myself too because I’m leading him and throwing him the ball kind of into that hit,” Mahomes said. “So, it’s definitely a bad feeling for me as a quarterback, but I was glad to see he was doing OK after the game.”