- Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith delivered a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints running back Alvin Kamara on Thursday night.
- Kamara was seen using smelling salts on the sideline after the hit, and would later be taken back to the locker room for evaluation.
- After no flag was thrown on the play, many from around the NFL world criticized the officiating.
The Dallas Cowboys pulled off the biggest win of their season on Thursday night, ending the New Orleans Saints’ 10-game winning streak with a 13-10 victory at home.
While the Cowboys defense played great, the play that got the most attention was a bad one – a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith on Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
The hit looked like the textbook definition of what the NFL had attempted to deter with the now-infamous “Helmet Rule” that was implemented this season. Smith launches himself headfirst in his attempt to take Kamara down.
In college, the hit would likely merit an ejection, but on Thursday night, the officials working the game didn’t even throw a flag on the play.
On the broadcast, commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman acknowledged that it should have been an easy call to make. Rules expert and former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira called Smith’s shot a “clear example of leading with the helmet.”
After Kamara got up, he was seen smelling salts on the sidelines to come back from his daze. Shortly after,
Alvin Kamara needed the smelling salts after being hit with the crown of Jaylon Smith’s helmet and no penalty.
I thought the league wanted these hits out of the game? #NFL #TNFonFOX #Cowboys #NOvsDAL
— George Wrighster III (@georgewrighster) November 30, 2018
On Twitter, voices from around the NFL world criticized both the officials working the game and the league itself for the clearly missed call on the violent hit.
Alvin Kamara gets smashed right in the head near the sideline.
He struggles to get up for a second.
The replay shows an obvious illegal crown of the helmet hit.
There is no flag.
Kamara then seen sniffing ammonia packet on the sideline.
Player safety. Lol.
— Sage Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18) November 30, 2018
That was an absolute helmet launch by Jaylon Smith. He’d have been ejected for that at Notre Dame.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 30, 2018
Clear helmet to helmet hit by Jaylon Smith on Alvin Kamara. Not called. How was that missed? Kind of play league wants out of the game.
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) November 30, 2018
After the game, Kamara downplayed the event. When asked if he expected a flag on the play, Kamara told reporters “It is what it is. It don’t matter what I was expecting.”
Through the preseason, there was concern from many football fans that between the new helmet rules and the league’s focus on protecting the quarterback, games would be suffocated by over-officiating.
But shots like Smith’s show that there are still moments when officials seem more than willing to keep their flags in their pockets after a devastating hit.