Oakland defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and the Raiders stepped up their attack on Carolina’s Cam Newton after the Panthers knocked the Raiders’ starting quarterback from the game Sunday, Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Raiders starter Carson Palmer left after a hit by Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty. Palmer, later found to have suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung on the play, did not return and will miss Oakland’s final game of the season, against the San Diego Chargers.
“You don’t ever want to see your quarterback get put out of the game,” Kelly said, according to the Chronicle. “So personally, we try to put their quarterback out of the game. You don’t try to do nothing illegal, but you see someone put your quarterback out, it kind of makes you want to put theirs out.”
The stats back up Kelly’s claim.
In the first quarter, the Raiders hurried Newton five times and knocked him down twice, including a sack. In the second quarter, after Hardy’s hit on Palmer, the Raiders hurried Newton eight times, including seven hits, five knockdowns and one sack.
Oakland finished with 20 hurries, an Observer review of the film concluded, including 14 hits and a total of 11 knockdowns. The 20 hurries were the most in at least six games for the Panthers, who allowed an average of fewer than 13 hurries in the previous five.
“I wish (Kelly) wouldn’t have said that,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Monday. “I get the idea of wanting to play hard and make things even, but again, we shouldn’t talk about that. We should move on and play hard and see what happens.
“I don’t want to say I noticed anything as much as I thought that Cam took some shots.”
While the statistics back Kelly’s assertion, the Panthers’ offensive line played a role. The Panthers were starting a backup center and had to replace rookie left guard Amini Silatolu, who left early with a dislocated wrist.
“When you’re down to who’s your third and fourth guys at that position, that’s going to be tough,” Rivera said. “I also think (Oakland) did a nice job in terms of attacking. Knowing that we’ve had a couple guys that are relatively new at their positions, they attacked the line, and there was a lot of pressure on our guys. You have to give them credit as well.”
Newton was not asked directly about Kelly’s comment, but he brushed off a question Sunday about the game being one of the chippiest he’s been a part of.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s just football being football,” Newton said. “It’s a collision sport, and for us, we have great guys on the offensive line, and it wasn’t like it was intentional that they weren’t blocking the guys.
“I could have done a better job getting the football out. Most of the time I was hot. They were bringing a lot of pressure and that was successful for the Raiders.
“We played a hell of a bunch that came out and wanted to be physical.”
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