Sunday Night Football was again a thrilling finish as the Pittsburgh Steelers escaped Heinz Field with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. TJ Watt forced a Geno Smith fumble, giving Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers perfect field position. Then, Chris Boswell stepped up and ended the game with a field goal.
However, the ending of regulation time was filled with headaches and confusion after DK Metcalf caught a pass, fumbled the ball, and Freddie Swain ran it back to the huddle for Smith to spike. For some reason, the catch was reviewed, giving the Seahawks more time to spike the ball and set up Jason Myers for the game-tying kick.
After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin tore apart the officials for an utterly confusing sequence that could have cost them the victory.
Furious Mike Tomlin doesn’t hold back on ’embarassing’ officiating
The entire sequence was ridiculous. First, why the officials decided to review the blatant Metcalf grab is the most pressing question. After that, why they added time on the clock is confusing. Tomlin is always honest and took the opportunity to express his frustrations with the situation after the victory (h/t Jarrett Bell of USA Today).
“I just hated it…I cannot believe that the game was stopped to confirm ‘catch-no catch’ in that moment. That’s all I’m going to say.”Mike Tomlin on crucial review in the 4th quarter
The decision to review the catch was a confusing one. Metcalf caught the ball, made a football move, and headed upfield before getting the ball punched out by Steelers’ corner James Pierre. Tomlin didn’t stop there, either, and proceeded to offer more thoughts on the situation.
“It was an embarrassment.”
Mike Tomlin on officiating blunder
It was as clear as a catch could have possibly been, except not to the referees. Tomlin has every right to be furious, especially because they put more time on the clock, which allowed the Seahawks to spike the ball and send out the field goal unit to send it to extra time.
The questionable officiating is under the spotlight once again
NFL officiating has been a sour patch over the past few years, especially. In 2021, the officiating has been under the microscope, especially with the addition of the questionable taunting rule.
Week 6 was just another week full of questionable decisions. The Metcalf catch-fumble review was far and away the most head-scratching decision of the weekend.
Steelers fans began to celebrate at Heinz Field as the stadium clock hit triple zeros. Swain recovered the fumble, stood up, and sprinted back to the huddle where Smith spiked the ball with one lonely tick on the clock– at least that’s what it appeared to be.
Instead, Seattle had a shot to tie, and Tomlin was livid on the sideline after his team scratched and clawed all game long to have an attempt to put it away.
Sure, Pittsburgh got the victory thanks in part to Watt, but they easily could have lost this game because of that officiating blunder.
The up-and-coming Steelers get back to .500
Coming into the year, the Steelers were widely thought to be a playoff lock. Ben Roethlisberger returned for one last go-around, and rookie Najee Harris gave them an every-down running back. Tomlin’s group has stumbled to a 3-3 record with some frustrating losses through six weeks.
Nonetheless, Pittsburgh heads into their bye weeks with a bit of momentum and a chance to right the ship after a rough start to the year. The Steelers will face the injury-depleted Cleveland Browns, followed by the Chicago Bears and winless Detroit Lions on the other side of their bye.
Those are three winnable games and a golden opportunity to win and gain some ground in the AFC playoff picture.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference