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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

NFL's concussion protocol questioned after Tom Savage hit

Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage appeared to suffer a temporary lack of consciousness against the San Francisco 49ers but was allowed to play on

Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage appeared to suffer a temporary lack of consciousness against the San Francisco 49ers but was allowed to play on. Shanna Lockwood / USA Today
Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage appeared to suffer a temporary lack of consciousness against the San Francisco 49ers but was allowed to play on. Shanna Lockwood / USA Today

The NFL's concussion protocol was brought into question on Sunday when Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage appeared to suffer a temporary lack of consciousness against the San Francisco 49ers but was allowed to play on.

Savage took a devastating hit from 49ers defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the second quarter and could be seen trembling with his arms stiffened and outstretched.

The QB made his way back into the game for his team's next series before ultimately being replaced by backup TJ Yates.

Following the game, Texans coach Bill O'Brien was questioned on why Savage was allowed by return to the game after sustaining the hit.

"We evaluated him, at that time and made the determination that he was OK," O'Brien told reporters.

"Not me, obviously, the evaluators made the determination to put him back in the game. He went back in the game and came out and they evaluated him a little bit more just because of what they saw. And that's where it's at.

"That's all I really know about it."

The controversial clearance of Savage to play is likely to lead to further calls for a review of the NFL's concussion procedure as a whole.

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The Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC East divisional crown with a roller-coaster NFL victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday but saw quarterback Carson Wentz exit early with a knee injury.

Wentz threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns before limping off in the third quarter as the Eagles held on to claim a pulsating 43-35 victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

But the gloss was taken off the win by Wentz's injury, which US media reported could be a season-ending torn ligament.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson refused to speculate on the severity of the injury.

"We will find out more tomorrow," he said. "You're speculating he is going to be out, but I just don't know yet."

The Eagles improved to 11-2 and clinched the NFC East title for the first time since 2013.

The Rams meanwhile remain on top of the NFC West at 9-5, one game ahead of the Seattle Seahawks (8-5) who fell 30-24 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Seahawks' frustration boiled over at the end of that contest, with defender Sheldon Richardson ejected for throwing a punch in the final minute and defender Quinton Jefferson trying to go after fans who threw a drink at him after he was tossed late in the game.

The Eagles victory came after a gutsy fourth-quarter fightback, when they clawed back the momentum as the Rams appeared to be closing in on victory.

Wentz was out of the picture by then, having gone down in the third diving for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty. He gamely remained in the game and threw a clutch TD before heading to the sideline.

The Rams took a 35-31 lead with a touchdown on their next drive, and it was up to Eagles backup Nick Foles to pilot a Philadelphia comeback bid that included two field goals by Jake Elliot and a final touchdown.

The Steelers clinched the AFC North division title in dramatic style, edging the Baltimore Ravens 39-38 on Chris Boswell's field goal with 42 seconds left in the game.

The Steelers improved to 11-2 with their eighth straight win after trailing by 11 points going into the fourth quarter.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed a career-high 44 passes on a career-high 66 attempts for 506 yards. He became the first NFL quarterback with three career 500-yard games.

The Ravens took a 38-29 lead with less than seven minutes to play when Javorius Allen ran nine yards for a touchdown.

The Steelers answered with an 11-yard touchdown by Le'Veon Bell -- his third of the game. And after the Ravens came up empty on their next possession the Steelers went ahead on Boswell's 46-yard game-winner.

Elsewhere Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys stayed alive in their quest for a wild-card berth with a 30-10 win over the New York Giants.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott finished with a career-high 332 yards as Dallas improved to 7-6 in the NFC East to stay in the postseason chase.

The Carolina Panthers jolted the Minnesota Vikings 34-21 after a three-touchdown rushing display from Jonathan Stewart.

The Panthers boosted their playoff hopes as they improved to 9-4. The Vikings slipped to 10-3 but remain atop the NFC North.

In Cleveland, the Browns looked poised to score their first victory of the season after leading 21-7 against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter.

But two Packers touchdowns sent the game into overtime and Green Bay emerged with a 27-21 win.

In Buffalo, the Bills overcame blizzard-like conditions to beat the Indianapolis Colts 13-17 in overtime in a game played with thick snow blanketing the field.