Jadeveon Clowney had a big game Sunday, and his Seahawks are advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs. Yet, the three-time Pro Bowler wasn’t looking forward to reading his mentions on social media after knocking Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion.
With one hit to Wentz’s head and neck area as the quarterback was going to the ground, Clowney changed the entire complexion of the game, and possibly the Eagles’ season. The offense never recovered from the loss of its field general, failing to find the end zone in a 17-9 defeat which eliminated the team from the postseason (see observations).
But while there will be a never-ending debate as to whether Clowney’s hit was cheap or dirty (see story) — at least outside Philadelphia — the defensive end insisted it was a clean play.
“I was just playing fast,” Clowney said from the visitors’ locker room postgame. “He turned like he was running the ball, so I was trying to get him down.
“It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt nobody in this league. Let’s spit that out there. I’ve been down the injury road. It ain’t fun. My intention wasn’t to hurt him.”
Wentz was attempting to scramble when Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald tripped him up for a sack. As Wentz lunged forward toward the ground, Clowney lowered his shoulder and made contact around his upper back. Clowney then landed on Wentz, driving his head into the turf.
At the very least, the hit appeared to be unnecessary as Wentz was already going down regardless. There was also the appearance Clowney made helmet-to-helmet contact or hit the quarterback high, though a closer look the replay shows that may not have been the case.
Clowney denied he made contact with his helmet. He said he’s not expecting a fine for the hit, either. In fact, he discussed the play with an official afterward.
“Nobody flagged me,” Clowney said. “They didn’t say anything. I asked the ref what he thinks, if it was personal foul, he said, ‘I dunno, it’s kind of a bang-bang play.’
“He didn’t think so, so that’s why he didn’t throw it. If he thought so, I think he would’ve threw the flag, but he didn’t think so, so I’m moving on past it.”
Seattle perspective: Clowney calls Eagles fans 'the worst fans in the world'
Clowney could not deny, however, Wentz’s departure hampered the Eagles’ offense significantly.
“A lot,” Clowney said. “When you’ve got to play the backup quarterback, there’s only so many plays that they can run, and when you don’t game plan for him all week, it kind of puts him in a tough situation. Of course it helped us out the rest of that game being with Josh McCown in the game.”
Eagles fans were obviously distressed about the no-call — that their quarterback was out of the game, but Clowney was not ejected — and it’s not the first time the city had beef with Clowney.
Last season, Clowney delivered a devastating shot to Nick Foles’ chest, which left the quarterback writhing on the ground. The officials threw a flag and the NFL fined Clowney, though he claimed the fine was later rescinded.
“I tried to tell them boys on my team, I said, ‘This team hates me. Their fans hate me for some reason,’” Clowney said. “They think I tried to kill Nick Foles. You remember that play? It was bang-bang. I didn’t take him to the ground, either.”
The difference is Foles was OK. This time, Clowney dramatically altered the course of the Eagles’ season.
With five tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack and a knockout blow, Clowney cemented his place as one of the worst villains in Philly sports history — up there with former Panthers linebacker Greg Favors, who injured Donovan McNabb with a questionable hit during the 2003 NFC Championship game.
Whatever you think of Clowney though, he walked out of Lincoln Financial Field wishing the best for Wentz, but feeling vindicated it was a legal hit.
“That’s a great player over there. For their team and for their organization, I hope he’s OK,” Clowney said.
“Like I said, I didn’t intend to hurt him. I didn’t even know he went out of the game until the next series. It was a small hit. Everybody was going crazy. It’s not like I even hit him hard. I was just trying to finish the play, but it happened and I hope he’s OK.”
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