DENVER — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton says he didn’t feel he was being targeted with helmet-to-helmet hits, even though he appeared to take several in Thursday night’s 21-20 loss to the Denver Broncos.
But several of Newton’s teammates thought otherwise, noting a flag was thrown only once.
“Do you see them calling it?” Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis asked. “Early in the game, a guy took two, three steps and hit him in the head and they didn’t call a penalty.
“We’ve talked about it ad nauseam. It doesn’t matter. They ain’t going to change it.”
Tight end Greg Olsen said it’s time officials treat Newton like a quarterback and make more calls.
Cam Newton, Panthers could have taken first step toward ‘Super Bowl hangover’
Another loss to the Broncos could be tougher for the Panthers and Cam Newton to bounce back from than the one in Super Bowl 50.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian least of Broncos’ worries in victory
Quarterback Trevor Siemian rebounded from two interceptions for a solid outing — and victory — in his first NFL start.
“I know he’s the biggest guy on the field, but he’s still the quarterback,” Olsen said of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound NFL MVP. “We’ll see what some of those [helmet-to-helmet hits] look like. Obviously, we got one of them, but we didn’t get many yards off of it.”
The one that was called occurred late with Newton trying to rally Carolina for a last-second field goal that Graham Gano ultimately missed from 50 yards. But Newton also was flagged for intentional grounding, offsetting the penalties.
“It’s not my place to question the officials,” Newton said. “I really like the officiating crew. It wasn’t something I know they did intentionally, but it’s not fun getting hit in the head.
“We didn’t lose the game off that. I know that for a fact.”
Newton said he tries to warn the officials every time he is hit in the head.
“But if the flag is not thrown, then it’s OK,” he said.
Newton said he was asked a couple of questions after the game to determine whether he needed to be in the concussion protocol. That did not happen during the game when it normally does.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera said a couple of the shots Newton took “were unfortunate,” but Rivera didn’t want to take a hard line on what happened until after he reviewed film.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ve got to look at the tapes. I don’t want to pass any judgment on that.”