Twitter weighs in on cheap shot that injured Steelers’ Najee Harris

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Sunday night’s Steelers/Chargers showdown in Los Angeles didn’t just live up to the hype—it obliterated it. The Steelers, led by fearless conqueror Ben Roethlisberger (fresh off the COVID list), overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead with 3:24 remaining, only for Justin Herbert to rip their hearts out, slaying Pittsburgh once and for all with a 53-yard deep strike to Mike Williams just before the two-minute warning.

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Between Austin Ekeler’s heroics (four touchdowns) and a momentum-shifting blocked punt by special teams ace Miles Killebrew in what was essentially a home game for the Steelers (“Terrible Towels” were waving all over SoFi Stadium), Sunday night’s slugfest in the City of Angels was as entertaining as any we’ve seen this season. However, it wasn’t without controversy with Kyzir White’s reckless hit on running back Najee Harris, the league’s leading rusher among rookies, leaving Steelers fans with a bad taste in their mouth.

White’s cheap shot on Harris, who was checked for a concussion but ultimately cleared, fit all the criteria of “unnecessary roughness.” Yet, somehow, on a night where 20 flags were thrown, Sunday’s officiating crew led by Carl Cheffers either missed it or didn’t think the play rose to the level of a personal foul, which would have resulted in a 15-yard penalty and possibly White’s ejection. Fans on social media were predictably outraged, calling for White’s suspension after injuring a player responsible for seven touchdowns and 1,022 yards from scrimmage this year.

White’s hit on Harris may have been in retaliation for an earlier play that injured teammate Asante Samuel Jr., who was ruled out with a concussion after a collision with Harris late in the third quarter. Pro Bowler Cam Heyward, whose tipped pass at the line of scrimmage led to one of the game’s pivotal plays (Cameron Sutton came down with the interception, setting up a touchdown by Pat Freiermuth three plays later), appeared to return the favor, taking out his frustration on Herbert in a chippy sequence that again got Twitter riled up.

Whether you think a punishment for White is warranted or not, the NFL needs to be vigilant about head injuries, or risk the circus that transpired Sunday night in Inglewood.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images