William Gholston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was just dinged with a personal foul for a skirmish after the whistle in the second quarter of tonight’s game against St. Louis. He was tied up with Greg Robinson and Robinson ended up on the ground with his leg wrapped around that of Gholston. He decided to try and free himself by gently kicking the Rams offensive lineman. After being freed, he did flamboyantly pull his leg through the air above Robinson and that’s when the official pulled out his flag. That’s the part I don’t get.
The official comes into view just before the kick that actually made contact. He’s looking at another player to get the ball from him and only notices the altercation because of the dramatic leg pull back. He didn’t see anything else yet he decided to call a penalty that turned a 2nd and 7 from the 25 yard line into a new set of downs from the 12. Three plays later they converted for the major.
The announcers guessed the officials were trying to settle things down after a few heated exchanges and a missed helmet to helmet contact on Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston. This seems unlikely though since there was zero bad blood on any previous plays during this particular possession. In fact, two plays before the penalty St. Louis had a reception for a 12 yard gain and the Rams players went out of their way to help the Tampa tackler up off the ground and then give him a friendly helmet tap. The kick didn’t make much sense, but the call was a little bit harsh for the type of incident, the location on the field, and the fact that THE OFFICIAL NEVER SAW IT.