The referees were busy marking the spot of the football and they didn't notice it.
Case Keenum told the team's athletic trainer he was all right.
But anyone who saw Keenum's head bounce off the turf Sunday during the Rams-Ravens game, then watched him struggle just to get back on his feet, knew he wasn't all right. He was allowed to stay in the game, though, and two downs later he was hit hard again and fumbled the ball.
The NFL has made a big deal out of saying its new concussion protocol is there to protect players. The NFL added independent certified trainers in 2011 to have them serve as spotters for injuries. Starting this season they can buzz down to the officials if they see a player in distress.
In this case, the trainer upstairs said he didn't have to buzz the referees because the Rams' own trainer was on the field. The trainer said he talked with Keenum who said he was all right, and the trainer decided not to take him off the field for further evaluation.
But while we're looking at why Keenum was allowed to stay in the game, let's look at Case Keenum himself. The Rams backup quarterback was getting his first chance to start, after Nick Foles was benched.
Do you think he's going to admit to the trainer that he's woozy, dizzy, or his head hurts? Not a chance.
He sees this as his opportunity to become a starting quarterback in the NFL and he's not about to give it up. That's why teams have to take away players' helmets when they're hurt. Given the choice, the player almost always will fight to stay in the game.
In the meantime, the Rams have put Keenum on concussion protocol to see whether he can play this weekend against the Bengals. The NFL is investigating why the injury wasn't reviewed during the game--so is the NFL Players' Association.
While everyone points fingers as to why the system failed, we've learned one thing: The NFL concussion guidelines aren't foolproof. The league needs to look at its own protocol for better ways to keep its players as safe as possible.