Falcons safety Damontae Kazee ejected for hit on Cam Newton

AP

The Falcons were short at safety, and now they’re shorter at the position.

Cam Newton had to be taken to the sideline medeical tent for an evaluation, after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Falcons safety Damontae Kazee.

Kazee, who was replacing the injured Keanu Neal in the starting lineup, was ejected for the hit.

Newton was scrambling for a fourth-down conversion, and slid after gaining the first down. But Kazee dove in for the stop, leaving his feet and hitting Newton in the head.

That led to an immediate reaction from Panthers wideout Torrey Smith, who shoved Kazee and was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty of his own. Panthers coach Ron Rivera was also furious, yelling at officials. They’ve been sensitive to the hits Newton takes for years, and they got a call they deserved.

Newton was quickly cleared and returned to the game, and led them to a touchdown drive, hitting Jarius Wright for the score and a 10-3 lead.