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Watch: Cam Heyward punches a defenseless Justin Herbert in stomach, escapes suspension

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers
Ian Van Roy
ANALYST

Justin Herbert may join many fans in saying the Steelers-Chargers game was the game of the year. If not the game of the year, most would give a nod to the fourth-quarter roller coaster. Between the Steelers' instant comeback and the Chargers' late touchdown and subsequent defensive mauling of the Steelers, the fourth quarter had more action than most games this season.

Did Cam Heyward punch Justin Herbert?

Lost in the action by the referees was Cam Heyward. A massive force in the game, the defensive end was one of the main sources of the fourth-quarter disruptions of Justin Herbert. However, no one is talking about the quality game he put on tape. Everyone is talking about the punch Heyward threw at Justin Herbert after tackling him.

Justin Herbert had been running all over the Steelers in the game, and Heyward tackled the quarterback after yet another big scramble. It had been a frustrating night for Heyward's Steelers, and he appeared to show it.

One of Herbert's teammates appeared to say something to Heyward while he was laying on him. He looked up to say something and gave the Charger a seemingly aggressive push. He then turned back to Herbert, who he was still laying on. Using his right hand, he appeared to spin Herbert onto his back and give him a jab to the stomach.

#Steelers DL Cam Heyward, who appeared to punch #Chargers QB Justin Herbert late in last night’s game, will have his actions reviewed for a fine, not suspension, source said. Heyward told reporters punching was not his intent and it looked worse than it was.

The referees didn't do anything, and no fight was started. The "punch" happened with no response. According to the Associated Press via NFL.com, Heyward was asked about the incident after the game. He denied that any punch happened. Instead, he said he simply lost balance and fell on him.

"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 after the game, via the Associated Press. "I know it looks terrible, (but) there was nothing malicious behind it. I don't think I was trying to punch him, but I know it looks worse than it is in slow motion. I'm sorry if I did anything to offend anybody. I wish I had said more to Justin after, but there was nothing behind it."
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert was also asked about his take on the incident.

"No. I haven't really seen it," the QB said. "(Heyward)'s a tough player. Football is an emotional game. Whatever happened, happened in the game. We'll shake hands and say, 'Good game,' after the game."

Did Heyward intentionally punch Herbert? The clip has been treated as a Rorschach test. Either way, the victim, Herbert, didn't seem phased about the jab, chocking it up to the emotion of the moment.


Edited by Windy Goodloe

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