It’s pretty rare that you see a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty called on a player who has the ball, but that’s what we got in Week 1’s Steelers-Browns game.
On a punt return in the second quarter, Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown delivered a flying kick to the head of Cleveland punter Spencer Lanning, who was trying to make a tackle.
Brown was slowed, but continued running and gained an extra six or seven yards. He was flagged for a 15-yard penalty.
It looks more vicious from this angle:
It appears that he was trying to hurdle Lanning but ending up coming down on his face accidentally.
Fox officiating expert Mike Pereira said that he had never seen a play like this before, but it was the correct call. Hurdling defenders used to be illegal altogether. He added that Brown could be fined.
Pittsburgh went on to grab a 24-3 lead, so the penalty wasn’t that harmful.
An incredible photo from Getty Images:
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