Panthers coach Ron Rivera called the league Monday to get clarity on Kelvin Benjamin’s illegal block Sunday against the Vikings, which brought back a touchdown that would have given the Panthers a 15-point, second-quarter lead in their 22-10 loss.
Running back Fozzy Whittaker caught a swing pass from Cam Newton out of the backfield and turned upfield for a 56-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter. Benjamin had his right hand on the shoulder of cornerback Trae Waynes, but pushed him in the back with his left hand.
It did not appear Waynes was in position to make the tackle on Whittaker.
“Kelvin has his hands on the guy on the inside portion. The guy turns to run by Kelvin and he pushes,” Rivera said. “It’s one of those things you’d like to say, ‘Hey, at that point you can just let him go and let Fozzy do his thing.’ It’s hard because he was engaged.”
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The Panthers were penalized 10 times for 65 yards against the Vikings, including a few Rivera described as “silly.” Their 26 penalties (for 215 yards) through three games are the fifth-most in the league, through Sunday’s games.
Only Oakland, Jacksonville, Detroit and Los Angeles have been penalized more.
“That goes on me,” Rivera said after the game. “It’s about discipline and if we aren’t playing disciplined, then I’m not doing something right. So I have to get that corrected.”