It could be argued the concussion protocol is only an attempt to make an inherently damaging game appear safer.
“The reality is, the concussion protocol does matter,” Nowinski said. “Players can die of second-[impact] syndrome. Careers can end from concussion symptoms. We have to get this right.”
The New England Patriots nearly fell to 1-2 at the hands of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Instead it was Tom Brady finding Brandin Cooks for the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion with 23 seconds remaining to rally the Patriots to a 36-33 victory.
In Philadelphia, rookie Eagles kicker Jake Elliott blasted a 61-yard field goal to send the New York Giants to an 0-3 start, despite two touchdown catches – and two interesting celebrations – from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Detroit suffered disappointment on the final play of the game. Wide receiver Golden Tate appeared to score a game-winning touchdown with 6 seconds remaining. On review, Tate was ruled down at the half yard line. By rule, the review required a 10-second runoff, ending the game and giving the Falcons a 30-26 win. Atlanta starts that season with a record of 3-0.
The Patriots reclaim the No. 1 spot after their victory over the Steelers. It certainly wasn’t easy. But Tom Brady yet again was at his best in crunch time. Rob Gronkowski was a difference-maker for the offense in his return from his one-game suspension. And good luck and meticulous preparation came together for the Patriots in the wild final sequence when the catch-rule replay reversal went their way and their defense was more than ready for the fake-spike throw into the end zone.
The Jaguars may be the one team capable of preventing the expected Steelers-Patriots rematch in the AFC championship game. They can play rugged defense and run the football, and they could face the Steelers in what could be a competitive conference semifinal. But the problem remains: Can QB Blake Bortles, even with his recently improved play, be trusted in games of consequence?