NFL world in disbelief after 'unacceptable' act blows miracle win

DJ Moore's penalty, pictured here resulting in the Carolina Panthers taking the point after kick from much further out in the NFL.
DJ Moore's penalty meant the Carolina Panthers had the extra point attempt from much further out in the NFL. Image: Getty/Fox

Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore went from hero to zero after a ‘bonehead’ taunting penalty cost his team an improbable NFL victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday morning (AEDT).

With the Panthers trailing 28-34 as the game clocked ticked down to the final seconds, Moore caught a 62-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Panthers quarterback PJ Walker to tie the game.

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However, Moore was unable to contain his excitement and emotion after the miracle play, removing his helmet and leaping into the stands to celebrate with Panthers fans.

Under NFL rules, removing your helmet carries a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

As a result, the potential game-winning extra point attempt was moved back to the 48-yard line, instead of the usual 33-yard mark.

With a more difficult kick awaiting him, Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro could only pull his attempt wide left of the uprights.

To make matters worse, Pineiro missed a 33-yard attempt in overtime, as the Falcons eventually secured victory through a Younghoe Koo kick from 41 yards.

DJ Moore cops it from NFL fans over 'boneheaded' play

Unsurprisingly, Moore came in for heavy criticism for his brain fade from NFL fans and pundits on social media.

Moore was seen sitting alone on the sideline after the game while he contemplated the consequences of his mistake.

“(I was thinking about) what would have happened if I didn’t take my helmet off, going back to what happened. That was about it,” Moore explained to reporters post game.

“It was a natural reaction, but you still have to know you can’t do that.”

Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said the incident would prove to be a learning moment for the 25-year-old.

“We’ve got to do better as a team,” Wilks said.

“DJ is smart enough to understand that that’s something to learn from. Very talented player. Glad he’s on our team.

"But moving forward, that’s something we’ll learn from and won’t make that same mistake.”

DJ Moore, pictured here in action for the Carolina Panthers against the Atlanta Falcons.
DJ Moore in action for the Carolina Panthers against the Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Moore’s error immediately drew comparisons to one of the most infamous taunting penalties in NFL history, committed by Cleveland Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd in 2002.

Rudd tossed his helmet to celebrate what he thought was the final play of the game, only to cop a 15-yard penalty that allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to kick a game-winning field goal.

The victory saw the Falcons move to the the top of the NFC South division with a 4-4 record, while the Panthers now sit in last place of the division with a 2-6 record.

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