‘Nothing Malicious’: Pittsburgh Steelers DT on Seemingly Punching Justin Herbert

Published 11/22/2021, 11:05 AM EST
Oct 10, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Pittsburgh Steelers defense had enough after suffering all the blows from the Justin Herbert led Los Angeles Chargers wave after wave. And so the Steelers defensive captain Cameron Heyward seemed to have tackled down the Chargers quarterback and apparently punch him in the stomach.

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Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chargers filled the fourth quarter play with frustration and heated plays all the time. But the apparent punch thrown by the defensive captain Cameron Heyward to Justin Herbert took the heat to another level. For that aggressive action the tackle could have gotten ejected, it could even bear Heyward some cost of money after the NFL reviews the play.

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cameron Heyward on the alleged punching incident

Although the defensive tackle has something else to say. According to him, the play looked as if he had punched Justin when, in fact, his other hand was stuck and when he tried to get up, he fell right at the quarterback, making it look as if he had punched him. And when watching it in slow motion, it seems even worse.

“To be honest, I was running after the ball and I caught my hand under so when I was trying to get back up, I couldn’t get up and I fell back on him,” Heyward said. “I know it looks terrible. There was nothing malicious behind it. I don’t think I was trying to punch him.”

“I know it looks worse than it is in slow motion,” Heyward said. “I’m sorry if I did anything to offend anybody. I wish I said more to Justin after it but there was nothing behind it.”

Justin Herbert in response to the punch

The officials did not think of the play to be ejection worthy, as it almost seemed that Cameron tripped on the quarterback. “It just didn’t look like it rose to the level of a foul that would result in a disqualification,” NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson explained in a pool report.

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However, it did not matter to Justin Herbert as he shrugged it off like nothing had happened. “He’s a tough player. Football’s an emotional game. Whatever happened, happened. We’ll shake hands and say, ‘Good game’ after the game,” he said.

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The Chargers dominated almost the entire game, however the Steelers took a lead briefly in the fourth quarter of the game with just 3:24 minutes’ time left in the timer. But the Chargers scored the game.

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Sauvik Banerjee

406 articles

Sauvik Banerjee is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in English and Economics from Lucknow University, Sauvik combined his love for NFL and passion for writing to work for team ES. Sauvik has functioned as a content marketing intern at Kyari Innovations and had a brief stint with Knocksense Lucknow.

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