UPDATE: It’s no surprise that Greenlaw is not pleased with his situation. He’s in the locker room while the 49ers play in the second half. Since he was ejected, he’s got time on his hands and has hit social media, posting the below to his Instagram account.
UPDATE: NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay spoke on the play early in the third quarter after speaking with the NFL’s rules officials in New York. He said Troy Vincent decided that Dre Greenlaw “lowered his head and made illegal forcible and flagrant contact to the head of an opponent.” That was the justification for the ejection, but McAulay acknowledged it’s hard to justify an ejection given that this was more about the physics of the situation where a defensive player can’t make the adjustment he needs to not hit the quarterback in that manner.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw was ejected from Week 10 Sunday Night Football after he collided with Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Greenlaw was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected from the game.
While the officiating crew was discussing the play with New York and making their decision, NBC rules analyst Terry Mcaulay was telling Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth that this was not a play that should have been penalized. He decided that based on two reasons. The first is that Herbert was not a quarterback for purposes of this penalty but had become a running player and thus gave up head and neck protections quarterbacks get. The second is that he did not believe Greenlaw was leading with his helmet, but instead was going after him with his shoulder.
The NFL refs did not see it that way and Greenlaw was ejected just before halftime. Herbert left the game after the play as the independent spotter called for a medical timeout. While Herbert was getting checked out, backup QB Chase Daniel came on for three plays ahead of a field goal attempt to close out the second quarter.