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Panthers' DJ Moore catches miraculous game-tying hail mary, then commits dumb penalty that leads to OT

Carolina Panthers wideout D.J. Moore did two unthinkable things at the end of regulation against the Atlanta Falcons.

First, he caught an incredible 62-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left to tie the game. But after securing the touchdown, Moore committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after taking off his helmet in celebration.

That penalty pushed the extra-point attempt back by 15 yards, which set Panthers kicker Eddy Piñeiro up for a game-winning kick from 48 yards out. He missed it cleanly, which sent the game to overtime.

Things didn't go any smoother for Piñeiro and the Panthers then, either. After an interception on the Falcons' first overtime drive, Piñeiro missed what would have been a game-winning 32-yard field goal. The Falcons got the ball back and kicked a field goal to snatch the win back. It also vaulted Atlanta to the top of the NFC South.

After the game, Moore called taking his helmet off a "natural reaction," but added "but you still have to know you can’t do that," according to DaShawn Brown of WSOC-TV in Charlotte.

Panthers head coach Steve Wilks called the moment a "learning experience" for Moore and that he's a smart enough player to understand the ramifications of his actions.

DJ Moore's mental mistake pushed the Panthers-Falcons game to overtime. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DJ Moore's mental mistake pushed the Panthers-Falcons game to overtime. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) (Kevin C. Cox via Getty Images)

It's unfortunate that such an incredible touchdown catch will be almost forgotten because of the subsequent penalty by Moore. The pass traveled 67.6 air yards — the most on a completed pass since 2016 — and had a completion probability of just 11.5 percent, per Next Gen Stats. It also capped a three-touchdown comeback in the fourth quarter as well as Walker's first career 300-yard passing game.

But mental errors have consequences, and this one by Moore cost the Panthers a win and the top spot in the division.