2020 NFL playoffs: Seahawks star could be punished for brutal hit on Carson Wentz, per report

One of the most controversial plays of the wild-card round took place on Sunday when Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz got knocked out of the game after taking a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from Seahawks pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney

Although Clowney didn't get penalized for the hit, he could end up facing some sort of punishment, and that's because the NFL has decided to review the play, which took place during the first quarter of Seattle's 17-9 win over the Eagles. According to NFL.com, the league will take a second look at the play and then try to decide whether or not Clowney broke any rules. If the NFL decides that Clowney's hit was illegal, then the Seahawks star will be punished. The good news for Clowney is that even if the league rules against him, he's not expected to be suspended. According to the NFL's official website, Clowney would likely only be hit with a fine. 

It's a good thing for Clowney that the NFL's former vice president of officiating, Mike Pereira, doesn't have any say in a potential punishment, because Pereira definitely thought that Clowney made an illegal hit. During an interview with Rich Eisen this week, Pereira made it clear that his belief was that Clowney took a "cheap shot" at Wentz. 

"Slow motion replay didn't make it look that bad, but in real time, you could see him drop the head and take the shot," Pereira said. "I think it's a foul. Now, certainly, it's not going to keep Wentz in the game, just because it was a foul and if a foul got called, but I do think that it was a cheap shot."

You can see the play below and decide for yourself whether or not it was a "cheap shot."

Although helmet-to-helmet hits are supposed to draw a flag, Clowney wasn't penalized on the play. According to referee Shawn Smith, there was no penalty called because the officiating crew felt that the contact between Clowney and Wentz was "incidental."

"He was a runner and he did not give himself up," Smith said in the pool report. "We saw incidental helmet contact, and in our judgement, we didn't rule that to be a foul."

The hit took place in the first quarter during the Eagles' second offensive possession, and although Wentz would finish the drive, he didn't return to the game after that. Wentz was replaced by 40-year-old Josh McCown, who threw for 174 yards in the loss. 

Clowney isn't a popular figure in Philadelphia, and that's because this is the second time he's taken out an Eagles quarterback. In December 2018 when he was playing for the Texans, Clowney took out former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles with a shot to the sternum, a hit that eventually led to a $40,000 fine. 

According to Pereira, the NFL should take into account Clowney's history of vicious hits when trying to decide whether or not he should be punished. 

"You hate to go back to history, but he knocked Foles out of a game in Week 16 last year with a helmet shot into the sternum, which cost him $40,000, and it was called roughing the passer," Pereira said. 

On Clowney's end, he insists that his hit on Wentz was perfectly clean. 

"I didn't see anything. I was just playing fast and he turned like he was running the ball, so I was trying to get him down," Clowney said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. "It was a bang-bang play. I don't intend to hurt anybody in this league, let me just put that out there. I've been down the injury road; it's not fun. My intention was not to hurt him. I was just playing fast."

Although Clowney might believe that, Eagles fans definitely don't. Over the past few days the Seahawks pass-rusher says he has been harassed on social media by what he calls the "worst fans in the world."

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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