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Shockingly, the Panthers lost to the Broncos after Kubiak effectively “iced” Graham Gano. Gano missed a 50 yard attempt from the left hash on his second kick after Kubiak had called a timeout prior to the first attempt. He bounced it off the upright on the first kick, then he over corrected and pushed it left. The Broncos defense was stout in the second half and the offense was just good enough to capitalize.

That’s not the focus the next day.

The focus is on the atrocious officiating. This was easily one of the more lopsided and poorly called games in recent memory. Never mind the holding that occurs on every play, let’s talk about the flag that was thrown on a Denver punt. The Broncos were flagged for holding, but it was picked up because once the ball is kicked he had become a defender. Wait, all of the sudden you can’t call holding on defense? Next, the demolition of Cam Newton’s helmet was a disgusting display. Four, FOUR helmet to helmets were witnessed for certain, only one was called and in not surprising fashion, it was offset by intentional grounding. Of course leading with the crown of the helmet is targeting, but they called roughing the passer not targeting. If safety is priority then intentional grounding, which occurred due to the affect of the vicious hit, shouldn’t offset a personal foul like that.

The NFL has stated that there should have been a flag on one of them, but that isn’t an acceptable response. The NFL should suspend this officiating crew so they set a firm line about player safety. Obviously, nothing can change the outcome of the game, but starting by holding the referees responsible for this display of dirty and disgusting play is a start. Yes the refs didn’t encourage the Broncos outright, but not calling those calls sets a precedent for the game. That precedent was that no matter how late the hit is, no matter how intentional the targeting is, if you hit Cam Newton, you don’t have to worry about a flag.

Obviously, there were other factors at play in other aspects of the game, like the intentional targeting of Kelvin Benjamin’s left knee, but the NFL needs to start by disciplining Gene Steratore and that replacement ref level crew from the game last night.

Do better NFL.

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