The Carolina Panthers looked like they pulled off a miracle in Atlanta on Sunday when P.J. Walker found D.J. Moore for a Hail Mary touchdown with 13 seconds left in the game. An extra point would’ve likely won the game for Carolina.
But Moore was called for excessive celebration after taking his helmet off and yelling toward the crowd. That pushed the extra point for Eddy Pineiro back 15 yards, which he would miss. It forced overtime against the Falcons, where Carolina would eventually lose the game, 37-34 (Pineiro missed another field goal to win it).
However, NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay, a longtime NFL referee before retiring, didn’t believe that Moore should’ve been flagged.
McAulay said that Moore took his helmet off his head when he wasn’t in the field of play, which is shown by a picture from NBC’s Tony Dungy. Moore was passed the back of the end zone when he takes the helmet off, which is legal.
The rule states that a player cannot take off his helmet while in the field of play, but nonetheless, the Panthers were dealt the bad beat.
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If Moore doesn’t take his helmet off in the first place, maybe things turn out differently for the Panthers. But he called it a “natural reaction.”
“It was a natural reaction, but you’ve still got to know you can’t do that, especially with the time left on the clock,” Moore said. “I had a post, and they started scrambling. I didn’t see the ball in the air yet and seen him launch it and reaccelerated and just made a play. After that, I just remember the flag and the ref coming up to me.”
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Pineiro shoulder the blame for the loss, though.
“I just came across it,” he said on the extra point mis. “My hips came across it. I should’ve kept my hips forward and I just kind of came across the ball.”
Moore finished the game with 152 yards on six catches, including the 62-yard touchdown grab. It came as Moore has been the target of trade rumors prior to the NFL deadline on Nov. 1, as the Panthers sit at the bottom of the NFC South at 2-6.
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