Most observers thought the Panthers got screwed when defensive end Brian Burns was flagged for roughing the passer late in what turned out to be a loss to the Browns. But the league’s disciplinary process determined that the hit was, in fact, illegal.
Burns has been fined $15,914 for roughing the passer.
The call was so questionable that it’s fair to ask whether the league’s disciplinary process may have put its thumb on the scale to fine Burns, just to back up the referee who threw the highly controversial penalty flag.
The flag on Burns gave the Browns 15 yards on their final drive, which ended with a game-winning 58-yard field goal. It’s not unreasonable to say that without that penalty, the Panthers would have won the game. It was a tough call for the Panthers, made tougher for Burns when his paycheck was docked.