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Panthers take issue with officiating in final moments of loss to Browns

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The Carolina Panthers narrowly lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday as it came down to a Cade York 58-yard field goal to win the game 26-24.

The Panthers had issues with two calls on the Browns’ final drive.

The first problem came on the final drive when Jacoby Brissett was leading the charge down the field. Brissett dropped back and was hit by Panthers defensive end Brian Burns as he was throwing the ball. Burns was called for a roughing the passer penalty, though it didn’t appear the contact was excessive or out of the ordinary.

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Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by Derrick Brown #95 and Brian Burns #53 of the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Referee Brad Rogers said the flag was thrown because there was “forcible contact to the head and neck area,” according to the Panthers’ website.

Burns said after the game he didn’t think there was “forcible” contact.

“We've had meetings on that to understand the new rules,” he said. “My understanding was that if it wasn't blatantly like you said, forcible, they wouldn't call it. But I haven't seen the play yet, so I don't know exactly what happened. I know I was in a bull rush, I was moving the guy back, and they fell. That's all I know.”

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) looks to throw a pass during an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers on September 11, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) looks to throw a pass during an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers on September 11, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. 
(John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Christian McCaffrey called the penalty on Burns a “horrid call.”

Ahead of York’s field goal, Brissett got to the line of scrimmage in an attempt to snap the ball and spike it. He appeared to fake the spike first and then spike it, which the Panthers’ personnel thought would have been an intentional grounding call.

If the penalty was called, the Browns would’ve taken a 10-second runoff and bring the game from 13 seconds left to 3 seconds. But that wasn’t the case.

“I started screaming, intentional grounding, 10-second runoff, the game's about to be over,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said. “They obviously called it and changed it, and then it was told to me that he just pump-faked. … A lot of things at the end didn't go our way.”

Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers reacts following a call during the fourth quarter of their game against the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers reacts following a call during the fourth quarter of their game against the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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Cleveland, instead, goes back home with a 1-0 record. The Panthers will look to get their first victory next week.

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