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NFL

This Brutal Head-To-Head Hit By A Ravens Defender Actually Wiped Away A Critical Touchdown By Le’Veon Bell


The Steelers and Ravens duked it out late into Thanksgiving night, and running back Le’Veon Bell took an incredible haymaker from Jimmy Smith late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers needed a touchdown (and a two-point conversion) to tie the game, and Bell actually got into the endzone — but a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Bell’s helmet off nullified the score.

Here’s the blow (via GIFD Sports):

The offense was, in effect, penalized for that hit. A new rule states that a play is called dead as soon as a helmet comes off, and Bell’s helmet is off at the half-yard line — it didn’t matter that he crossed the goal line immediately after.

Bell, who looked like he was knocked out momentarily, left the game with a possible concussion. The Steelers would go on to score two plays later, but the extra plays cost them precious seconds on the clock… and in any case, they didn’t convert the two point conversion, nor snag the onside kick. The Ravens won 22-20, keeping themselves in the AFC North title hunt, and would likely point you in the direction of the Jacoby Jones punt return call if you had any issues with the controversial win.

Bell got it in there, put his body on the line for the team — and the score was called back on a technicality. A totally bizarre application of the rule that may have cost the Steelers the game. Not an incorrect call, but it seemed to violate some kind of football ethos. What may have been incorrect: No helmet-to-helmet penalty on Smith? [UPDATE: Can't call that when the hit is on the ball carrier. Still, brutal.]

And that’s how Thanksgiving ended.


  • AC

    Seriously, where’s the freakin helmet-to-helmet call? Watching th e NFL is becoming worse than ice skating.

  • JoeS

    I understand the helmet flying was ruled correctly on a strict basis here, but, not the spirit of it. For one thing, the whistle happened AFTER the play was over. Which meant that, Second, it provided absolutely NO PROTECTION to the runner. The play was over, he was laying unconscious in the end zone before anybody noticed he had no helmet on.

    Yet another rule that should be looked at in the off-season.

  • Eagles Fan

    If your going to call that helmet to helmet a penalty, call it on the running back as well. He lowered his head to meet the collision, prevent the defender from hitting his body, and did it while the defender was diving for the tackle.

  • raw raw

    We’re taught since highschool not to lower our heads. I’m a steelers fan, but Bell knows not to do that.

  • Anonymous

    As I saw it, Bell was in the air (and not down) when his helmet came off. The ruling after review put the ball where it was when Bell’s helmet came off. How the hell does the ball get spotted at that point before the runner’s body came down?! When has such a call as this one EVER been made? It’s incredible to me how the ball got spotted based on where it was in the hands of the runner, Bell, who was in the air. How can they not spot the ball based on where it was when his body came down?!

  • JJ

    Well if we’re making calls right down the middle then there should have been a penalty on Tomlin standing on the field and forcing Jacoby Jones to break his stride.

  • Anonymous

    The NFL of today sucks might as well let girls play now because all these contact rules are designed to ultimately allow women to play might as well go ahead and do it now.

  • vodkadrunkenski

    NFL matches have become the gladiatorial games of modern age–
    I hated seeing that hit, but hated hearing the applause when the TD was overturned more.
    Football’s a’changing folks. Too many concussions for it to keep at this pace.

  • Jerry S

    Just add an F…NFFL – national flag football league.

  • Really? I think he would do whatever he had to do get a touchdown–avoid other players. Lowering your head isn’t against the rule… hitting someone else’s helmet with your helmet is.

  • robert

    I see Smith’s helmet hit Bell’s shoulder, and the 2nd hit was a raven’s shoulder hit Bell’s helmet…I also think his bare head hitting the turf is what knocked him out. Watch closely, because it is a matter of inches, but when Smith makes contact, Bell’s head doesn’t move to the right, so if it was helmet to helmet, I would think Bell’s head would move. Also, Bell had control of the ball until his head bounced off of the turf, which makes me think his bare head snapping back and bouncing off of the turf is what knocked him out.

  • BMoreNurse

    You are so ignorant. You watch for technicalities like if his head
    moved… he got hit IN THE HEAD- helmet to helmet- by 2 players. Whether
    it was his fault or not its sad people are being so nonchalant about
    it. What happened with Tomlin happened- no one ALMOST DIED because of
    that play. Just as I have observed videos and pics of Tomlin being on
    the field, I have viewed the same for that hit… and it was helmet to
    helmet. Unless you are unaware of anatomy….

  • BMoreNurse

    Yeah but his BARE head would not have hit the ground if the Ravens had not hit him helmet to helmet. They literally BROKE Bell’s helmet… making him more vulnerable to the fall. So actually, the helmet to helmet hit is what ended up hurting him….


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