Referee explains why Jadeveon Clowney wasn't flagged for hit on Carson Wentz in Eagles-Seahawks playoff game


Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was not penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of Sunday’s playoff game because the contact was deemed “incidental.” 

On the play, Wentz was on his way to the ground when the crown of Clowney’s helmet made contact with the back of Wentz’s helmet. 

Here was referee Shawn Smith’s explanation, per a pool report: 

He was a runner and he did not give himself up. We saw incidental helmet contact, and in our judgement, we didn’t rule that to be a foul.

Smith, when asked by a pool reporter, said he had not seen a replay of the play after the game. 

“No, just based on what we saw on the field, we didn’t deem it to be a foul,” Smith said.  

“From what we saw on the field,” Smith said, “it was incidental.” 

The play from Clowney might not have been dirty but it probably should have warranted a penalty flag. We’ll find out later this week if Clowney is fined for the hit. 

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