Was protocol followed after hit on Matt Moore? NFL Players Association investigating

 

Matt Moore missed one play before returning from this. (Getty Images)

Matt Moore missed one play before returning from this. (Getty Images)

Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore had his helmet back in his hands 3 1/2 minutes after being laid out by a devastating hit by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree on Sunday.

The investigation into how Moore cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol will take considerably longer.

The NFL Players Association announced Monday afternoon that it is launching an investigation into whether protocol was followed on the Dolphins’ sidelines after Moore missed just one play.

Whenever a player is suspected of suffering a concussion, he is to be examined by an independent monitor to determine if he is fit to play, according to NFL protocol.

A message left for Moore’s agent, Lynn Lashbrook, was not immediately returned.

In the second quarter of the Dolphins’ 30-12 loss in the wild-card round, Moore rolled right to escape pressure and upon releasing a pass suffered a blow to the chin from the crown of Dupree’s helmet, leveling Moore. Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, but whether he’ll be fined won’t be announced until late this week.

“I just got popped,” Moore said after the game. “I just needed a second there. I got checked out. I felt fine. It was more of my jaw than anything else. I felt good. I came back in and I was fine. He got me pretty good.”

As Moore lay on the ground, he was tended to by five personnel. He sat up 1:20 after the hit, and CBS’ cameras showed him on the sideline 2:45 after impact with a man appearing to ask him questions while a second person stood nearby, appearing to take notes.

The timing is critical. As this was taking place, the play went viral on social media, with many wondering if Moore would be able to return at all.

Criticism grew louder when Moore’s helmet was back in his hands 3:40 after impact and he was back on the field after 4:25, with many asking how a thorough examination could take place so quickly. That included CBS broadcasters.

“Moore is returning after just one play away,” CBS’ play-by-play man Jim Nantz said on the broadcast. “I never would have guessed it.”

Sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said Moore initially was holding his lower back while tended to on the field. She was told Moore did not lose consciousness and “they said he hit him in the jaw and so they did a quick evaluation and cleared him to go back in, Jim.”

Analyst Phil Simms added, “They would not let him back in the game if there was any doubt. I do believe that these doctors, independent neurologists, they’re going to be safe with these players after all we’ve heard and what they’ve gone through.”

Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry Csonka tweeted that Moore was “one tough SOB” while several Twitter users posted memes mocking what they termed the “doctor” who cleared Moore. Rams running back Todd Gurley was among several writing RIP to Moore.

The hit was jarring enough that Moore later said he wondered if he’d lost any teeth.

Although the game in general never went the Dolphins’ way, Moore had an especially difficult time after the hit, committing turnovers that raise questions of whether he was woozy.

The hit angered the Dolphins, especially running back Jay Ajayi, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he shoved Dupree in disgust.

On Moore’s first play back in, he audibled to a short pass, which he completed to DeVante Parker, but right tackle Ja’Wuan James was called for holding Dupree. James took the penalty rather than allow Dupree another shot at his quarterback.

The Dolphins settled for a field goal on that possession, but on their next three possessions, including two in the second half, Moore turned the ball over — this after throwing eight touchdown passes and three interceptions since replacing injured starter Ryan Tannehill.

Moore lost a fumble following a blindside hit by linebacker James Harrison, lost another fumble on a safety blitz by Mike Mitchell, then threw an interception. All three turnovers were costly, first denying the Dolphins a chance to cut the deficit to 20-13 at halftime before the next two led to 10 Steelers points.

Dupree also was afforded a clear path to Moore on the Dolphins’ fourth play of the game. Faced with the onrushing linebacker, Moore unloaded an incompletion on third down, then was hit.

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