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Patriots players react to controversial DeVante Parker hit, no-call

Patriots players react to controversial DeVante Parker hit, no-call originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

DeVante Parker took a shot to the head Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium on a type of hit that the NFL is trying to eliminate from the game. The officiating crew apparently saw things differently.

Midway through the third quarter of the New England Patriots’ Week 8 matchup in Miami, Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott leveled Parker with a big hit that dislodged a second-down pass from Mac Jones. A replay of the hit showed Elliott’s helmet make direct contact with Parker’s, causing the wide receiver’s head to snap back.

The play looked like textbook helmet-to-helmet contact, which usually results in an automatic 15-yard penalty. Head official Land Clark and his crew didn’t throw a flag, however, and the Patriots punted two plays later.

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Parker exited the game with a head injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game, ending his day with one catch for 14 yards in the Patriots’ 31-17 loss.

Head coach Bill Belichick gave a terse response after the game when asked about the no-call on the Parker hit.

“You should talk to the officials about that,” Belichick replied.

Patriots captain and special teamer Matthew Slater was a bit more candid, telling reporters he believes the NFL will discipline Elliott for what he saw was an illegal hit on Parker.

“I think he’ll end up getting fined for that play,” Slater said of Elliott. “When they go back and look at it, they’ll probably end up fining him. … They’ll fine him.”

It’s very possible Elliott hears from the league after this hit, which seemed to fit the bill for illegal contact on a defenseless receiver. That would make the lack of a flag all the more puzzling. Patriots center David Andrews also seemed a bit perplexed that no flag was thrown on Elliott.

“I’m not sure what they’re looking for with certain things,” Andrews said. “I hope DP is alright. Unfortunately, sad part of the game, injures. DP is a tough, great pro and we really appreciate him.”

The missed call hardly cost the Patriots Sunday’s game; the offense mustered just 218 yards of total offense while Jones threw a brutal interception in the second quarter that resulted in a six-point swing.

Still, if the NFL is serious about maintaining player safety, it needs to penalize hits like the one Elliott delivered on Parker on Sunday.

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