The NFL’s new helmet rule claimed its first casualty on Thursday night.
Thomas was tossed following a passing play down the right sideline. Moore was falling to the ground after failing to latch onto the pass and Thomas launched himself helmet-first into the side of the receiver’s helmet.
The officiating crew penalized Thomas for unnecessary roughness and ejected the sixth-year defensive back from the contest. Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich did not disagree with the call.
“That was very disappointing. I’m very disappointed,” Reich told reporters, per NFL.com. “We don’t teach that. That was a good call, that was the appropriate call, he should have been ejected. … That could have been avoided, should have been avoided, and the referees did the right thing.”
The NFL released a fact sheet regarding the new helmet rule earlier this month after several players admitted to being confused. The league implemented the rule in late March.
Under the new directive, it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with the helmet on an opponent. The contact is not limited to an opponent’s head or neck area, as initiating contact to a player’s torso, hips and lower body is also an infraction.
According to the fact sheet, the penalties for a violation include a loss of 15 yards or ejection, which includes a set of standards. An ejection would be considered if a player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet, if he has an unobstructed path to his opponent or if contact clearly is avoidable and the player delivering the blow had other options.