Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera brushes up on rules after Detroit-Seattle controversy

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright helped a fumble by Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson go past the end line Monday night, in an uncalled violation of NFL rules.
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright helped a fumble by Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson go past the end line Monday night, in an uncalled violation of NFL rules. AP

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday he knew the rule on the play in the Monday night Detroit-Seattle game that should have been deemed a penalty on the Seahawks – but quarterback Cam Newton somehow seemed to have missed the controversy entirely.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had a touchdown that would have won the game punched away by Seattle safety Kam Chancellor before he crossed the goal line. The ball bounded into the end zone, and Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright batted the ball out of bounds for a touchback.

Seattle drained the clock and won the game 13-10. But the play by Wright should have been deemed illegal, and the Lions should have gotten the ball at the 1 with a chance to win.

“There’s a certain element to this game where the human error factor is still there,” Rivera said. “Whether it’s by a player, coach or referee, human error is still part of the game. We live with that. We’ve lived with that since the inception of sports when you’ve got referees making judgment calls.”

Rivera came into the office Tuesday morning and was immediately met by running backs coach Jim Skipper, who serves as the de facto “rules guy” on the staff. The two regularly discuss late-game scenarios and rules.

Rivera said he knew the rule from his playing days with the Bears, but the two still went over that rule along with some other rules near the goal line and out of bounds.

Newton was later asked about the end of the Detroit-Seattle game. At first he thought the question referred to just the touchback, but further questioning revealed Newton may not have heard about the controversy surrounding Wright.

“The who?” Newton asked after the details had been described to him.

After the play was described a second time, a smiling Newton was asked if he knew the rule.

“I did,” Newton said, to laughter.

“I am up to date on my rule book,” he said.

Moving reason Jared Allen missed practice

All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen probably wouldn’t have practiced Wednesday because of a pinched nerve in his lower back, but that wasn’t what kept him off the field.

The team excused Allen to move his belongings from Chicago to Charlotte on Wednesday, and he was one of two players who wasn’t on the field.

Allen suffered a pinched nerve in his lower back during last week’s win that shot down his left leg. Rivera said Allen got treatment for the injury and should be practicing next week after the bye.

Linebacker A.J. Klein missed practice with an illness.

A number of veteran players had the off, though the Panthers didn’t have to file an official injury report.

Receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ankle), offensive tackle Daryl Williams (knee), guard Amini Silatolu (ankle) and tight end Richie Brockel (unknown) worked off to the side.

Receiver Ted Ginn Jr., running back Fozzy Whittaker, cornerback Charles Tillman, safety Roman Harper, tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil were with their position groups but did not wear helmets.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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