The refs early on tried to make it clear that they would not be tolerating any antics after the whistle. This was clear when they flagged Denver Broncos' cornerback Aqib Talib for having some choice words for Philly Brown after a play along the Broncos' sideline. Talib was hit with a taunting penalty after the play that actually extended the Panthers' drive because the offense failed to convert a third down on the play.
The flag actually seemed to upset Talib who later in the game was hit with a facemask penalty as Brown approached the end zone. The Broncos' cornerback grabbed hold of the facemask and whipped the Panthers' wide receiver out of bounds. The penalty didn't hurt the Broncos as much as the first one because being that close to the goal line it was only half the distance to the goal line.
After the game, Talib admited that he pulled the facemask on purpose. “(They were) BS flags, one was on our sidelines, the guy was talking on our sideline, one I just did on purpose and I just had to show him. It’s probably going to be a fine, but, hey, we’re world champs.”
This is not the first time Talib has tried to take cheap shots and even earlier this year, he was caught in a game against the Indianapolis Colts trying to poke the eye of an opponent.
The facemask seemed to motivate Brown though, who was having one of his best games of the season with four receptions for 80 yards. However, he had to leave the game early after suffering a concussion on a diving catch.