Concussions sidelined three quarterbacks Sunday, with the 49ers’ Alex Smith, the Eagles’ Michael Vick and the Bears’ Jay Cutler knocked out of games in the first half and leaving their teams wondering about their playing status for next week.
Smith scrambled and started to slide before turning his back late, and Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar barreled into his neck area with 1:10 left in the first quarter of San Francisco’s 24-24 tie against St. Louis. Smith briefly grabbed his facemask and grimaced, but he stayed in the game, throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree in the second quarter.
Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith on San Francisco’s next possession. Smith sat on the bench next to 49ers athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson and other trainers before walking to the locker room just before halftime.
The 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, who was 7-for-8 for 72 yards and the touchdown, started every game for the 49ers last season.
Vick was hit by Dallas linebacker Ernie Sims on an incomplete pass and was slow to get up early in the second quarter of Philadelphia’s 38-23 loss. Vick headed for the locker room and was replaced by Nick Foles with the game tied at 7.
Vick threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper in the first quarter.
The Bears’ Cutler left Chicago’s 13-6 loss to Houston after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Tim Dobbins. On the play, there were offsetting penalties. Cutler was called for an illegal forward pass for being past the line of scrimmage, and Dobbins was called for unnecessary roughness.
Cutler stayed in for the rest of the half, but Jason Campbell came out to start the third quarter.
All three quarterbacks will need to be cleared by doctors before being allowed to play again.
BUCS’ BLACK EXPECTED TO BE OK AFTER SCARE
Tampa Bay linebacker Quincy Black was hospitalized for observation of a neck injury after being carted off the field during the third quarter of the Buccaneers’ 34-24 win over San Diego.
Black was injured tackling running back Ryan Mathews for a 1-yard loss, remaining on the ground with just under 4 minutes left in the quarter. The Bucs did not release specifics about the injury, but coach Greg Schiano said the sixth-year pro is expected to be OK.
Trainers worked over Black for several minutes before immobilizing his neck and back on a stretcher.
“He’s at the hospital for observation. We think he’s going to be OK, but he’s got to work through some things,” Schiano said after the game.
Schiano was the coach at Rutgers when former Scarlet Knights player Eric LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury in October 2010 during a kickoff return against Army. Schiano said thoughts of the paralyzed defensive lineman went through his mind when Black remained on the ground.
“I thought about it immediately. When a guy goes down and he’s still,” Schiano said before stopping abruptly. “The good thing was Quincy immediately moved his right arm, so that was a relief.”
The Bears lost defensive end Shea McClellin because of a concussion in the opening minutes against the Texans. … Giants receiver Domenik Hixon suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of against the Bengals and did not return to the game. There was no indication of the severity of his injury. … Lions cornerback Chris Houston said he’ll “be OK” after leaving the field on a cart in the fourth quarter against the Vikings. He hurt his ankle and said a Vikings lineman intentionally landed with both knees on his lower leg. … The Lions also lost defensive end Cliff Avril in the third quarter to a concussion. … Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil left midway through the second quarter against the Panthers with a left shoulder injury. … The Buccaneers have scored 28 points or more in five straight games for the first time in franchise history.