Saturday, August 20, 2011

Illegal Hit By Broncos' Rahim Moore On Buffalo Bills Rookie Donald Jones Highlights Concussions In Week 2 Pre-season

I was watching with a large group of people tonight during the Denver Broncos-Buffalo Bills game when the Broncos' Rahim Moore hit/tackled Donald Jones of the Buffalo Bills. (*** Update: Video Of The Hit Can Be Found Here) (***Moore Fined $20,000)

By "hit/tackled," I could have said "helmet-to-helmet hit" or "unbelievably illegal shot to the head," and I wouldn't have been wrong.  Once I find a video replay, I will post it here, but for now, I will summarize the hit as follows: Moore zeroed in on Jones as he attempted to make a catch on an overthrown ball and hit him directly in the head with either his shoulder or his own head.

Bill Players React After Their Own Donald Jones Is Drilled In The Head
Photo: John Leyba/Denver Post
Now, I understand that Moore is a rookie.  He is trying to make an impression but hasn't had the benefit of months of coaching to know how to protect himself and another player when he goes in for a high hit.  However, that was just a completely dumb play. The Broncos were penalized 15 yards immediately for hitting a defenseless receiver, and Moore almost got his own head ripped off by several Bills players who retaliated for the action that took place right in front of their bench.

Two things bothered me greatly in this play's immediate aftermath:

  • Despite the fact that Jones fell to the ground with his arms in a stiff posture and his helmet partially knocked off by the hit, local Broncos announcers never ever uttered the word "concussion."  Instead, several minutes later, as he was helped to his feet and over to the bench, the announcers actually were relieved and said that he appeared to be alright.  To not even discuss the possibility of a concussion at that moment was a lack of either journalistic integrity (in an effort to not make the Broncos player look like a bad guy) or simply lack of knowledge on what a player looks like right as they sustain a concussion.
  •   The group of people I was watching the game with included casual football fans and serious hardcore fanatics.  I appeared to be the only one who thought that Jones had a concussion.  Everyone else said he was "stunned," or "just got his bell rung." When I explained that a guy having his bell rung WAS a concussion, there still wasn't much agreement.  I was actually pretty surprised by the lack of suspicion that Jones was concussed.  When Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton was hit in the head during the Stanley Cup playoffs, his posture immediately post-hit was fairly similar to Jones' in this case.  Horton was diagnosed with a severe concussion.
Nathan Horton, Immediately After Hit That Gave Him Severe Concussion
During Stanley Cup Playoffs
What that signals to me is that the NFL still has a long way to go in educating its people and fans on what a concussion is, what is looks like, and how serious it can be.  Rahim Moore is very lucky he didn't give himself a concussion on that play, and Donald Jones may have just had a career-altering injury.  We won't know for a while.  

What I do know is that the hit was clearly illegal and uncalled for, and Moore will undoubtedly be fined, as he should.  


Anonymous said...

Good call on the concussion.

Have your friends check this out:

It's very educational.

Anonymous said...

I actually saw it different. The concussion was the result of his head hitting the ground after the hit. Moore lead with his shoulder and hit him right in the chest. I know the league will look at it closely, but I didn't feel it was as dirty as people are saying.

Jules said...

I'm still trying to find a video on the hit to add to the post. I don't think it was a "dirty" hit, I just think it was poor technique period. The guy's right on the sideline. Simply hitting in the body would have carried him out of bounds but instead the Moore was going for the big hit. The real issue was the fact that Jones' injury, whether caused by the hit or the fall or both, was not even discussed as being a concussion by anyone. Thank you for your comment, and if you can find a video of the incident, please let me know.

Jules said...

Just found a video, and he's clearly hit in the head. His head already seems to be reacting to the shot (as if he's already stunned/concussed) before he hits the ground. Alfred Williams agrees it's a shot to the head and that it was a mistake by Moore. He's trying to "blow the guy up."

Anonymous said...

There was absolutely nothing illegal about the hit. Moore lead with his shoulder, Jones head whiplashed into Moores and then again contact with the ground. Had Moore of lead with his head and created "illegal" helmet to helmet contact, Moore would have inevitably suffered the same injury. That's physics. Jones was knocked unconscious. It's a third degree concussion. Ultimately it's just short of a gran mal seizure. Unfortunately, it's part of the game. Imagine how many players get concussions in games and never report it or even know it. It's football. They get paid to play physical and intentionally hit an tackle other players. I don't agree with your opinion. Of mines just the same. An opinion. I'd be surprised if he gets fined. It's very clear he led with his shoulder. I would suggest you watch the video time after time until you see it.

Jules said...

If Moore isn't fined, I will post that and say that I was wrong about the hit. I look at the video and see a hit to the head (I've looked at it 10 times at least). On a defenseless receiver. That's a penalty (hence, illegal), and he was penalized for that on the field.

The post is actually far more about the lack of both the Broncos announcers and the group that I was watching the game with not identifying the strong possibility that Jones just received a concussion. Legal hit or not, he clearly had some type of brain injury. Concussion Blog's point about my post was in the same vein: that the NFL isn't doing enough to educate the public about concussions (how to identify them, and how serious they can be).

Thanks for your strong opinion, though!