Two seemingly helmet-to-helmet plays in Sunday’s game between the Carolina Panthers didn’t draw flags from referees. Panthers coach Ron Rivera only thinks one should have.
Carolina quarterback Newton took what appeared to be a hit from Cameron Wake’s helmet to the chin on Carolina’s first offensive play from scrimmage. The impact caused Newton to bite his tongue, and later he was seen spitting blood during a timeout. Rivera said he would have liked to have seen a flag on the play.
“I’m going to send it in (to the NFL) and ask their opinion and we’ll see,” he said. “I know this, he bit his tongue and he was bleeding a little bit so I’d like to think there was a reason why.”
Then Miami, up 13-3 with just more than a minute left in the first half, had a chance for a touchdown on a pass to Reshard Matthews. It was broken up by Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
On slow-motion replay, it appeared that Kuechly’s helmet made contact with Matthews’ helmet on the pass breakup. A flag was initially thrown, then picked up by the officials. Rivera said that was the correct call.
“Luke hit him in the chest,” he said. “He folded over and I think that’s where it looked bad is how much body reacted to being hit.”
Said Kuechly after the game: “Everything happens so fast you can’t really tell, but we’ll take a look (Monday) and see what it looks like.”
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