"I didn't slam him. He just doubled over, went down and fumbled the ball. It's a shock to everybody, except maybe the guy that called it," said Smith. Gradkowski did fumble, but likely after he was down. The Bengals' Robert Geathers recovered.
When Smith asked referee Mike Carey for an explanation, Carey told him, "(You) drove his head into the ground." Smith protested: "The dude ducked."
Later, Carey elaborated: "The defender stopped forward progress, drove (Gradkowski) backwards and then at the end gave him the extra effort and stuffed his head into the ground."
Smith had it right, the guy was ducking, trying to escape. No whistle blew, which blows the official's explanation out of the water, he did not stuff his head into the ground, he tackled him. He brought a guy down who was trying to get away. Obviously the ref interpreted it the way he did, but I think the supervisor of the officials would tell him that his was an extreme view of the play and that it should not be considered "roughing" in the future. Which does nothing to make the Bengals 4-1 instead of 3-2.