Tougher new NFL concussion protocols debuted Sunday, with Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater being removed after one play in a 40-17 loss to the New York Jets.
Bridgewater, starting in place of concussion-sidelined Tua Tagovailoa, was the first player to be pulled from an NFL contest over the new “ataxia” no-go rule prompted by an injured Tagovailoa being allowed to return to a game two weeks ago.
The NFL and its players union agreed Saturday on changes allowing a player to be pulled if he displays unsteadiness after a blow to the head as a precautionary move.
Under previous wording, a player had to be diagnosed with a neurological injury, a loophole that allowed Tagovailoa to return against Buffalo four days before suffering a concussion against Cincinnati.
On Sunday, with Tagovailoa still out, Bridgewater departed after one play after being hit by New York’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner in the end zone. He was seen stumbling while walking and exited under the new rule, erring on the side of caution.
“A spotter saw him stumble and under the new rules and changes he’s ruled out and placed in the protocol,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.
“I’m happy there’s some policy that the medical experts deem is more safe for the players, so that’s a positive thing.”
The Dolphins struggled under rookie signal caller Skylar Thompson, while New York’s Breece Hall ran for 97 yards and a touchdown and the Jets (3-2) pulled away in the fourth quarter to rout visiting Miami (3-2).
McDaniel said Bridgewater showed no concussion symptoms and passed all necessary tests. He still must complete concussion protocols, including evaluation from an independent neurologist, before he can play again.
“It was rough,” McDaniel said of losing Bridgewater after one play. “But the whole team has confidence in Skylar. Our team in general doesn’t look at it like we’re a one-man savior at any spot.
“I don’t think the rest of the team’s response to losing Teddy had anything to do with losing the game.”
Philadelphia edged host Arizona 20-17 to remain the NFL’s only unbeaten club, improving to 5-0.
Jalen Hurts threw for 239 yards and ran 15 times for 61 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles, who drove 70 yards on 17 plays to set up Cameron Dicker’s game-winning 23-yard field goal in the final minutes.
Dallas improved to 4-1 with a 22-10 road victory over the reigning NFL champion Los Angeles Rams. Tony Pollard ran 57 yards for a touchdown and Brett Maher kicked three field goals for the Cowboys in the triumph.
Brady sparks Bucs’ win
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady completed 35 of 52 passes for 351 yards and a touchdown to spark the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Atlanta 21-15.
Josh Allen completed 20 of 31 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns in Buffalo’s 38-3 romp at Pittsburgh while Rhamondre Stevenson ran 25 times for 161 yards in New England’s 29-0 rout of Detroit.
David Long’s interception of a Carson Wentz pass at the goal line in the dying seconds gave Tennessee a 21-17 triumph at Washington.
Dameon Pierce ran for 99 yards and a touchdown as previously winless Houston won 13-6 at Jacksonville.
Austin Ekeler ran 16 times for 173 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 26 yards and another score in the Los Angeles Chargers’ 30-28 triumph at Cleveland.
Dalvin Cook ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns to power Minnesota over host Chicago 29-22.
Saquon Barkley scored on a 2-yard run off a direct snap and Xavier McKinney batted down an Aaron Rodgers pass in the dying seconds to lift the New York Giants over Green Bay 27-22 at London.
Taysom Hill ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 60-yarder for the deciding points late in the New Orleans Saints’ 39-32 victory over visiting Seattle.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns while Jeff Wilson ran for 120 yards and a touchdown to power San Francisco’s 37-15 victory at Carolina.
Justin Tucker kicked a 43-yard field goal on the final play to lift host Baltimore over Cincinnati 19-17.
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