Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness Friday, for striking a defenseless player in head and neck area.
But on the day of the game, Davis disputed even being penalized on the play in question, which helped facilitate the Panthers loss to the Buccaneers last week.
Davis his Bucs wide receiver Tiquan Underwood in the last minute of regulation, and felt like the flag came in late.
“Listen to me, man,” Davis said after the game, via Ron Green Jr. of the Charlotte Observer. “It’s ridiculous how they wait and see if a guy is going to lay down on the field before they make a call. It don’t make no sense.
“You can’t play defense any more because they’re looking around to see if a guy is going to lay down on the field. Clearly you can see I went in low, (my) shoulder tried to get under his shoulder then he laid down on the field and they called a penalty. It’s ridiculous. It don’t make no sense.”
The penalty turned an 18-yard reception into a 33-yard play, moving it into Carolina territory during the game-tying drive and stopping the clock while the officials sorted out the ruling at a point when the Bucs had no timeouts.
“It’s a tough call,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “I understand that it’s about safety. It’s tough because Thomas just came and made a football play. It’s hard because at that point are we supposed to miss him and let him catch the ball clean?
“The receiver is going down, Thomas is coming across, how are we supposed to make plays on that? Thomas didn’t hit him helmet to helmet. That much I’ll say. The referee made a judgment call. We have to live with it.”
At least until Davis appeals, a case which he might have a better chance with now, in a climate of defensive players making their voices heard.