Another NFL player threw punches at a player wearing a helmet, and as usual, it turned out worse for the puncher.
Colts linebacker Matthew Adams was ejected from Indianapolis’ Week 12 game against the Titans for punching a Tennessee player during a punt return. It follows a small trend during the 2020 season that’s also featured Bears’ receiver Javon Wims ejected for punching an opponent during a game, while Saints’ receiver Michael Thomas was suspended by New Orleans for a game for reportedly punching a teammate in practice.
Here’s the play Sunday that got Adams ejected:
The punt took place late in the first half. As Adams attempted to take off down the field, Titans linebacker Nick Dzubnar basically threw Adams to the ground. Adams got up and almost immediately threw a right-left jab combo at Dzubnar’s helmet before continuing down the field with a play.
While a single unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for punching doesn’t equal an automatic ejection, the referees can deem a particular act flagrant to eject the player. That’s what happened on this play with Adams.
Adams was a seventh-round draft pick in 2018 out of Houston. He’s been with the Colts for three seasons and made a total of 44 tackles. He’s been involved in penalty conflict before, with a penalized preseason hit in 2018 causing Adams to tweet “HARDEST LEGAL HIT YOU EVER SEEN!” He was also fined on two separate occasions late in the 2018 season for unnecessary roughness penalties.
Dzubnar, Adams’ opposite No. 49 who took the punches, is in his sixth NFL season after going undrafted out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. There’s nothing to suggest a prior conflict between these two foes, although a tight divisional race between Tennessee and Indianapolis might’ve been all it took to cause Adams to swing.