Colts benefit from one of the most controversial calls of the NFL season

The Indianapolis Colts were able to take advantage of a controversial penalty in their Week 9 game against the Carolina Panthers.
Nov 5, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) is called
Nov 5, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) is called / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, football fans complain about controversial calls. Whether in college or the NFL, there are usually terrible penalties and obvious missed calls. This week hasn’t been any different, as the Indianapolis Colts have found themselves in the middle of a controversial call.

In Indy’s Week 9 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, the Colts faced a third-and-seven from the Carolina 25. Indianapolis quarterback Gardner Minshew zipped a pass to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. in the middle of the field. Pittman went up to get the ball, got his hands on it, and then was separated from the ball with a brutal hit by Panthers safety Xavier Woods.

While Carolina celebrated, Pittman remained on the ground gathering himself. However, the Colts were ultimately winners of the play as Woods received an unnecessary roughness penalty for the hit. Instead of settling for a field goal, Indianapolis gained 15 yards, received a new set of downs, and scored a touchdown two plays later.

Fans immediately flocked to social media to complain about the penalty and ask what other way should should Xavier Woods have tackled Michael Pittman Jr.

Xavier Woods receives penalty for hit on Michael Pittman Jr. in Colts vs. Panthers

It’s extremely fair to criticize and question the penalty. Woods led with his shoulder and hit Pittman in the chest. Sure, an argument can be made that he launched himself but that’s because he was tackling a man who had jumped to catch the ball. It makes sense that Woods would try to be on the same level so that he could effectively dislodge the ball. He was successful but unfortunately for him, the Panthers, and the game of football, penalties like this are now commonplace in football.

The Colts did what they were supposed to do, though, capitalize on a gift. Two plays after the penalty, Minshew threw a screen to running back Jonathan Taylor and he was able to get in the end zone. The score helped Indy enter the half with a lead.