On Carolina’s first touchdown, a 23-yard pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith, left tackle Byron Bell appeared to be holding Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston.
No flag was thrown.
Much later, when Darren McFadden ran into the end zone from 3 yards out, Stefen Wisniewski was called for holding against a Carolina interior defender, erasing the touchdown.
“I kind of got tripped up,’’ Wisniewski said. “I gave ‘em kind of a final tug before he was going to get off the block. Sometimes they call that; sometimes they don’t. I have to see it on tape to know for sure. But it really stinks when it’s on a touchdown. It really hurts.’’
The two plays helped determine the final outcome in a 17-6 win by the Panthers, but there were head-scratchers galore from the officiating crew on both sides.
On third-and-10 from the Carolina 20-yard line, Tommy Kelly contributed on an apparent sack of Cam Newton. Newton kicked Kelly as they untangled, with Kelly getting a retaliatory foul for unnecessary roughness and a Panthers first down.
“He kicked me and and I aint’ fixing to take that off nobody,’’ Kelly said. “What are you going to do when someone kicks you? You going to take it? Nah.’’
Coach Dennis Allen, although he said he wasn’t exactly sure what happened on the play, wasn’t so sure.
“We’re trying to change the cultre and whatwe have to understand is we have to keep our composure in those types of situations because nothing good comes out of it,’’ Allen said.
Kelly conceded afterward the Raiders were going after Newton with gusto after Carson Palmer was knocked out of the game on a roughing the passer penalty from Greg Hardy, but not in an illegal sense.
“You take our guy out, we’re going to take your guy out,’’ Kelly said.“We’re not out to hurt someone, but when that happens . . .’’
Later in the same drive, Miles Burris appeared to deliver a clean hit to break up a pass to tight end Greg Olson. He got called for hitting a defenseless receiver, just as Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly did against Darrius Heyward-Bey.
“I’m not the one who makes the calls here,’’ Burris said. “I thought it was pretty clean and I’m going to go out there and continue to play football as hard as I can,’’ Burris said.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera and Allen were both venting their frustrations with officials.
“They have to do the best job they can to protect the players and that’s really where we are right now.’’
Newton was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after making contact with an official after being ridden to the ground by Mike Mitchell, but was not ejected.
Referee Joe Boger told a pool reporter he “missspoke’’ when saying over the loudspeaker that Newton was being penalized for contact. He said Newton was instead penalized for “disrespectfully addressing an official’’ and that the contact “was not of a malicious nature.’’
Newton issued a public apology after the game.
– Palmer’s injury was sustained on a third-and-1 play while rolling to his right to pass. Subsequent third-and-1 plays resulted in a 4-yard loss on a pitch to Darren McFadden and a 2-yard loss on a swing pass from Matt Leinart to Marcel Reece.
Asked if he would have liked to have seen a more straight-ahead approach in short-yardage, Allen said, “ I would like to see us get the first down and that’s what we’ve got to do better at. Up until last week, we were one of the leading teams on third-and-1 . . . we got stopped a couple of times and we’ve got to do better there.’’
– The Raiders longest offensive play of the day was a 22-yard reception by Terrelle Pryor, who took shotgun snap from center, threw wide to Carson Palmer and then caught a return throw on a screen.
– Punter Shane Lechler pinned the Panthers inside the 20-yard line four times.
– A bit of trickery on a punt reverse from Phillip Adams to Mike Mitchell went for just two yards.
– Strong safety Tyvon Branch (foot) and Adams (groin) did not finish the game with injuries.
– Defensive end Dave Tollefson was inactive for the first time this season, with rookie Jack Crawford getting spot duty on the defensive line.