Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was ejected Sunday after a late hit to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton while he was sliding.
According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, Newton looked woozy while walking off the field after getting hit around the head area by Kazee.
Per Matt Tabeek of the Falcons' official website, Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith was also flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play for retaliating against Kazee, resulting in offsetting penalties.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL confirmed Kazee's ejection was for unnecessary roughness against a quarterback and not for lowering his helmet to initiate a hit:
NFL confirms that the Damontae Kazee ejection was for unnecessary roughness, not for lowering his head to use his helmet to initiate a hit. That's two ejections in two weeks league-wide (Shawn Williams, Kazee) for unnecessary roughness for hits on QBs at the end of runs.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 16, 2018
Newton remained in the game after the hit and finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarius Wright to put Carolina on top 10-3 in the second quarter.
After Kazee was ejected, ESPN's Trey Wingo praised the officials for getting the call right:
Kazee ejected is the absolute right call. The exact hit they are trying to get out of the game— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 16, 2018
Knox Bardeen of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta chastised Kazee for a hit that cost the Falcons dearly due to their lack of depth at safety:
Damontae Kazee just made one of the dumbest moves I've seen on a football field in a LONG time. And tremendously hurt the #Falcons defense in the process. He's gonna get ejected.— Knox Bardeen (@knoxbardeen) September 16, 2018
Kazee started the game in place of Keanu Neal, who is out for the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL last week.
With Kazee out, Ricardo Allen, Jordan Richards and Keith Tandy are the only active and healthy safeties on the Atlanta roster.