The ugliness started near the end of the third quarter when Roethlisberger took off scrambling on a third-and-8 play. On the tail end of his 17-yard run, Roethlisberger started to slide, and that’s when Panthers safety Eric Reid came flying in to deliver a big shot near Roethlisberger’s head. After seeing the hit, multiple Steelers players immediately came to Roethlisberger’s defense, which led to a scuffle on the field.
Although no one was penalized for the scuffle itself, Reid did get flagged for unnecessary roughness due to the hit. After throwing the flag on Reid, the officiating crew conferred for several minutes to decide whether or not the hit was severe enough for ejection.
In the end, Reid was thrown out of the game.
Shortly after the ejection, Al Riveron, the NFL‘s vice president of officiating, went on Twitter and explained that Reid was ejected “for unnecessary roughness for forcible contact to the head and neck area of a sliding quarterback.”
You can see the hit and Riveron’s explanation below.
Reid was ejected with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
Although the Panthers and Steelers got in a small scuffle after Reid’s hit, everyone appeared to have made up by the time he left the field. As a matter of fact, Reid and Roethlisberger actually bumped fists before the Panthers safety headed to Carolina’s locker room.
From a football standpoint, the ejection didn’t really matter, and that’s because the Panthers were already trailing 38-14 when Roethlisberger got hit. Two plays after the ejection, the Steelers tacked on another touchdown to extend their lead to 45-14.
Despite the hit, Roethlisberger ended up playing one of the best games of this NFL career. The Steelers quarterback, who was benched with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns and also finished the game with a perfect QB rating of 158.3.
For more on the game, be sure to check out our takeaways from the Steelers 31-point win.