For the second straight week, the new NFL rule allowing referees to eject players for egregious helmet-to-helmet hits was used.
In Week 1, it saw a Bengals defender get tossed for a late hit to the head on a sliding Andrew Luck. In Week 2, it was an almost identical situation involving Cam Newton against the Falcons, as Newton scrambled for a first down and more on 4th and 4 in Atlanta.
Newton got loose and took the ball down to the Falcons 23 before sliding as Atlanta safety Damontae Kazee was coming up to make a tackle. Newton slides, but Kazee still comes in low like a missile, launching the crown of his helmet into Newton’s head in a scary hit that drew a flag and plenty of anger from the Panthers, who immediately went after Kazee.
The slow-motion replay shows how he hits Cam in the facemask with the crown of his helmet.
Kazee would be tossed swiftly, leaving the Falcons even more short-handed, as he was one of the replacements for injured safety Keanu Neal who is out for the season. There will almost assuredly be a hefty fine coming his way as the hit was incredibly dirty and against a quarterback, which always increases scrutiny into a hit like that.
The Panthers’ retaliation also earned a personal foul, which offset the Kazee hit. Newton would leave the game briefly as they reviewed the hit, going into the tent to be tested, but he came right back in without missing a play and led the Panthers the rest of the way for a touchdown.