Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin heard the referees' explanation and went bonkers. He had every right to do so.
The Green Bay Packers were stopped on third down after a Steelers fumble inside their own 5-yard line and lined up for a 23-yard field goal. Mason Crosby's kick attempt was blocked by the Steelers, and the ball was returnable as it bounded into the hands of the Steelers' Ryan Clark.
As Clark was going down, his knee hit the ground and he tried to lateral it to a Steelers teammate. The connection was not made, and as the ball trickled toward the sideline, the Steelers' Ziggy Hood batted the ball out of bounds. That's a penalty.
But what Tomlin was scalding over was the fact that the ball was awarded back to the Packers, despite it appearing that Clark possessed the ball. The rule states that it's an automatic first down on a batting penalty, but not when possession changes. The ball should have belonged to the Steelers and been placed deep in their own zone after the half-the-distance flag.
Instead, the Packers got it back undeservedly and Eddie Lacy scored one play later, completely changing the tenor of the game. The Steelers won the game eventually (even though Tomlin misplayed the Steelers' final possession), but had they lost, this call would have been widely debated, and for good reason.
The irony here is sickening for Tomlin. He's the newest member of the league's esteemed competition committee, which makes up and reviews the league's rules in the offseason, and you can be sure that this one will be talked about.
The Dolphins were called for a shaky batting call in Week 8 against the Patriots, and it might be a call that needs revision.
Do you think Tomlin brings this one up at his first competition committee meeting?
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