Pete Carroll sending Steeler’s helmet hit on Russell Wilson’s head to NFL for explanation

Pete Carroll wants to know how Russell Wilson can get drilled in the side of his head by an opponent with no penalty.

He’d like to know how no officials on the field saw the hit Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Specifically, Carroll wants to know what the NFL has to say about it.

The Seahawks coach said Monday upon his return to Puget Sound from Sunday’s win over the Steelers he will submit to the league a video clip of Pittsburgh Bud Dupree’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Wilson that went un-penalized. He’ll include a list of questions in search of an explanation from the NFL.

Carroll said the referee Carl Cheffers and his crew told him they missed seeing the hit by Dupree lowering his helmet and hitting Wilson after he threw a deep pass incomplete to Tyler Lockett in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s win over the Steelers on Sunday.

Lockett drew a 38-yard pass-interference penalty on Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds at the end of the play. Carroll got that initially uncalled penalty by winning a coach’s challenge for pass interference.

Carroll said Monday that during the time out when he declared the challenge he mentioned to Cheffers and the officials on Seattle’s sideline Wilson getting hit in the head.

“Nobody saw it,” Carroll said. “So ...

“Their eyes were downfield, I guess, and missed it.”

Carroll didn’t say it, but the veteran coach knows Jeffers should have seen the hit on Wilson. The referee’s responsibility includes all actions by and hits on a quarterback — at all points during every play.

Each week, the Seahawks and all teams submit a handful of plays to the office of NFL supervisor of officials Al Riveron seeking an explanation for why calls were or were not made and clarification of rulings. Often, teams really are seeking the league to own up to its officials’ mistakes.

“We send in plays that we have questions about. We will certainly send that play in, to make sure what we are seeing is right,” Carroll said. “Maybe they will see it a different way. I don’t think they will.

“So we send in our list of questions, and they give us their responses within a day.”

Just because Dupree did not draw a flag does not mean he’s free of the matter. The league, upon review of the incident at league headquarters, could fine him if the NFL deems the hit flagrant enough for such a penalty. Helmet-to-helmet hits are usually fine-worthy offenses, whether or not they are penalized during the game.

Players are typically notified by Friday of the following week of any fines from their previous game.

The quarterback position is vital in the NFL— just ask the Steelers today now that they’ve lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season to elbow surgery from pain he felt in the first half against the Seahawks. Or the Saints, who will play at Seattle Sunday without Drew Brees. He’s out for at least six weeks needing thumb surgery.

Given the value of quarterbacks in the game and league’s current emphasis on hits by and to the head in the concussion-aware climate of football, could Carroll see a day hits such as what Wilson took become a replay-reviewable play the way pass interference just became one this season?

“I don’t know. We need more reviews?” Carroll said.

“I bet it eventually becomes that, because it is so important, and you don’t want to miss it. The emphasis is about as strong as it can get already. There were about three or four ejections the week before for, basically, those kinds of hits.

“I don’t know. Whatever they do, they do. We’ll roll with it.”

Wilson said of Dupree’s hit, coyly, following the game, “I thought it was a little high.

“But it’s part of the game,” Wilson added. “You get back up and keep playing.”

Wilson did that.

“I was fine,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t dinged up, or anything.”

Three plays later he threw one of his most exquisite passes in years. Wilson perfectly placed a 28-yard pass to rookie DK Metcalf in the end zone to beat Dupree’s linebacker blitz— and beat the Steelers.

Wilson’s third touchdown pass of the game put Seattle up 28-19 with 7 1/2 minutes left in a game they went on to win 28-26.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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