SEATTLE -- Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs was ejected late in the first quarter of the team's 35-30 victory Sunday night over the New England Patriots for a helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver N'Keal Harry.
The play occurred on a fourth-and-3 completion over the middle. The Patriots took a 14-7 lead later on the drive with a 1-yard Cam Newton touchdown run.
Marquise Blair, last year's second-round draft pick, replaced Diggs at free safety then was injured and ruled out for the rest of the game. Lano Hill manned the position with Diggs and Blair out of the game.
A rule change that went into effect in 2018 made players who initiate contact with their helmets subject to ejection.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he had no objection to Diggs getting thrown out of the game.
"You saw the significant difference when we didn't have Q-Diggs back there. We got in trouble on the back end a couple times tonight and gave them some easy stuff that ... should never have happened," Carroll said.
"I couldn't see the play," Carroll added. "Everybody saw the play and they went all the way to New York and they made their decision, so I'm sure they made the right decision. He knows that he's got to keep his head out of those hits. He just got so jacked about the setup that he just didn't quite get it to the side like he needs to and make a shoulder hit out of it."
Blair left the game for good in the second quarter when his right knee was hit hard by teammate K.J. Wright, causing it to bend awkwardly. He will undergo an MRI to determine the severity, but Carroll said it's "probably fairly serious" given that Blair had to be helped off the field.
Blair, who played sparingly as a rookie, was one of the standouts of training camp as he made a strong transition to nickelback. Ugo Amadi, a fourth-round pick last year, replaced him at nickelback while Hill took over at free safety. Hill helped stop Patriots quarterback Cam Newton on the final play of the game.
"He's been such a cool part of this team already in this early part of the season, and such a significant part," Carroll said of Blair. "The other side of that is Ugo Amadi came in the game to play his spot and did a really good job. He had eight tackles and a tackle for loss and had a really good game for us and had a couple good pressures and all of that. We're going to really ask him to step up and be a factor for us."
"I'm sick about it," Carroll said of Blair's injury. "This guy is just getting started, just getting going with us, and it's a real shame."
Carroll said that linebacker/defensive end Bruce Irvin has a sprained knee but was walking around in the locker room postgame.