During the Baltimore Ravens' 17-10 road loss to their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, a certain play involving Steelers edge rusher TJ Watt and Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers stood out from the rest.
#Ravens WR Zay Flowers took a throat punch from TJ Watt yesterday?
It was unintentional on Watt?s part, but it looked like it had to hurt.
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) October 9, 2023
As you can see, Flowers — their rookie first-round pick out of Boston College — came back ever so slightly on his route to try to catch a pass from quarterback Lamar Jackson between four Steelers defenders.
Flowers couldn't haul the ball in, but as it fell away from his hands, Watt delivered a hit that looked like he punched the rookie near his head/throat area.
Of course, it's more likely that Watt was trying to swat the ball away, and the play looks more egregious than it was. But it certainly had some X users feeling upset.
It has gotten way too common for players to tee off on another player while attempting to punch the ball away. They gotta look at this is the off-season because there should be penalties for plays like this.
— SBG (@somebodysgun) October 9, 2023
"It has gotten way too common for players to tee off on another player while attempting to punch the ball away. They gotta look at this is the off-season because there should be penalties for plays like this," one user said.
Other users were a bit more understanding but still had questions.
Definitely not intentional, he was going for the pass breakup.
But did he REALLY have to throw a haymaker like that?
— BirdsInFour (3-1) (@BirdsInFour) October 9, 2023
"Definitely not intentional, he was going for the pass breakup. But did he REALLY have to throw a haymaker like that?" another user said.
This was pretty crazy from Sunday, #Steelers TJ Watt punched Zay Flowers right in the face ?
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 9, 2023
It's one of those plays that certainly doesn't look great — even though you don't suspect anything malicious, based on the type of player Watt has always been. With each watch, your opinion of it may change.
Flowers finished the game with five receptions for 73 yards. Watt finished the day with two tackles and two sacks.
The Boston College alum also had a highlight-reel-worthy play in the third quarter. He caught a pass from Jackson and shook linebacker Cole Holcomb almost out of his cleats.
The joystick @ZayFlowers ??
— NFL (@NFL) October 8, 2023
The Steelers improved to 3-2 on the season, while the Ravens fell to 3-2. The Steelers now lead the AFC North. They're 2-1 at home and 1-1 on the road, while the Ravens are 1-1 at home and 2-1 on the road.
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