It was third-and-13 in the fourth quarter when Cam Newton attempted to throw a pass to wide receiver Devin Funchess.
Giants defenders Michael Thomas and Landon Collins attempted to intercept the pass and both collided with Funchess in the attempt. The officials thought Collins hit a defenseless receiver and penalized the Giants safety with an unnecessary roughness call.
When you review the play, you see there was contact. But it looks like Thomas was the one who hit Funchess with his shoulder while Collins was trying to get to the ball.
Thomas’ shoulder made contact with Funchess, even though Collins ended up getting the roughing call. It follows an NFL trend of offensive players getting the benefit of the doubt while defensive players are blamed for actions they didn’t commit.
After the game, Collins denied it was a violent hit.
“It wasn’t a helmet-to-helmet … I did not touch his helmet,” Collins said. “His helmet touched my back. I touched the ball first.”
Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was angry about the call too. “What I saw was a guy going for the ball, making an effort,” he said after the game. “I think he touched the ball if I’m not mistaken. I saw that with my own eyes. So a guy is making a play on the ball with no attempt to target the receiver, so that’s how I saw it. I’m sure somebody will see it in slow mo HD and somebody will tell me what they think.”
Their anger over the call is understandable. If there was no call on the play, the Panthers would have been facing fourth-and-13. Instead, Carolina got an automatic first down and ultimately drove down the field to score a touchdown.
Unfortunately, that was just one of the bad calls by the officials in Sunday’s game. The other one happened closer to the end of the fourth quarter when the official gave the Panthers a bad spot on a Christian McCaffrey run. Ultimately, it set Graham Gano up for the game-winning 63-yard field goal.
The Giants were one of the least penalized teams in the NFL heading into Week 5. But after bad calls like this, New York was calling for better officiating.
“We need better referees,” Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. “Better calls.”