Danny Trevathan wasn't ejected for the helmet hit that hospitalized Davante Adams . The Chicago Bears linebacker will surely serve as an example, however, for referees determining where to draw the line on hits to the head.
Trevathan speared the Packers receiver in the facemask with the crown of his helmet during Chicago's 35-14 loss at Green Bay on Thursday night. The blow sent Adams' mouthpiece flying and the receiver, whose forward progress had been stopped several yards short of the end zone on third-and-goal, fell motionless to the ground.
He was carted off on a stretcher, loaded onto an ambulance and taken to a hospital, where he remained overnight.
Although the NFL emphasized during the offseason that egregious or catastrophic hits to the head could result in an ejection as well as a suspension, Trevathan stayed in the game. He was flagged for a personal foul.
"From my perspective I just didn't see enough to have it rise to that level" of ejecting him, referee John Hussey explained.
The league saw enough to hand down a two-game suspension , a punishment Trevathan is appealing.
Trevathan said he didn't intend to hurt Adams, but that rang hollow with the Packers, who were upset that he celebrated his big hit while Adams collapsed and players immediately summoned medical help.
Trevathan's suspension will cost him $235,294, plus whatever the league decides to fine him for the illegal hit this week.
Unless he wins his appeal, Trevathan will miss the Bears' game against the Vikings next Monday night and their trip to Baltimore a week later.
One player who won't be sidelined for the game against Minnesota is Bears prized rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky , the second overall draft pick from North Carolina, who will replace Mike Glennon, who's struggled in his first four games.
The Bears signed Glennon to a three-year, $45 million deal with $18.5 million guaranteed to replace Jay Cutler. But Glennon has struggled, throwing five interceptions and losing three fumbles.
At 1-3, the switch by Bears coach John Fox recalls his first season in Denver in 2011, when he benched Kyle Orton for Tim Tebow after a 1-4 start. "Tebowmania" soon took hold before Peyton Manning arrived and sent Tebow on a journey that would lead him to broadcasting and baseball.
GOOD KARMA : Another early QB switch is paying off this season: Rookie Deshaun Watson, who donated his first game check - a cool $27,352 - to three cafeteria employees who were affected by Hurricane Harvey, is well worth the money the Texans are spending on him.
In his third NFL start, Watson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another, the first rookie to do that since Fran Tarkenton in 1961, in a 57-14 shellacking of the Titans.
"Just seeing your quarterback have that swagger and that demeanor to want to win and want to keep the ball going down the field, that gets everybody going," running back Lamar Miller said. "I know me and it makes me want to play even harder to get the win."
TRASH TALK : Oh, and speaking of Cutler, things have taken a wrong turn in Miami, where Dolphins coach Adam Gase described his offense as "just garbage" after a 20-6 loss to the Jets last week.
That was followed by a 20-0 loss to the Saints in London on Sunday that dropped the Dolphins - who have to play 16 consecutive weeks after their opener was scuttled because of Hurricane Irma - to 1-2.
Gase pointed out the Dolphins started out 1-4 last year and still reached the playoffs.
"It's not time to panic," Gase said. "We've been in way worse than this. We just want to figure out what's going on and then fix the problem. That's really the only thing we're concerned about."
PLAY TO THE WHISTLE : Jets running back Bilal Powell rushed for a career-best 163 yards against the Jaguars, a total aided by his 75-yard touchdown when he hurdled linebacker Telvin Smith and stumbled.
Not hearing a whistle, he bounced up and took off downfield while four Jaguars were caught flat-footed, figuring Smith had touched him. He hadn't.
The score was upheld by video review, resulting in the Jets' longest touchdown run since Bruce Harper went 78 yards in 1983.
BUCKET LIST : Antonio Brown caught four passes for 34 yards in the Steelers' 26-9 win at Baltimore. Ben Roethlisberger never looked his way on one play where he was wide open and Brown stormed to the sideline and threw a Gatorade bucket back toward the field.
Roethlisberger, however, fulfilled his promise not to be overly reliant on Brown, who led the league in receptions last month with 26, but is now one catch behind DeAndre Hopkins' 31.
The Ravens have been outscored 70-16 in their last two games and quarterback Joe Flacco looks lost.
"I don't have a frustration meter," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm just trying to figure out how to get better. You can get frustrated all you want. You can kick over trash cans if you wish. It's not going to make you better."
Or, if you're Brown, you can toss the Gatorade bucket.
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