The replacement officials got mostly high marks after their first weekend of work, but no clear-headed assessment of the crew working Sunday’s Jets-Steelers game could be so kind.
In addition to the usual lengthy discussions of every flag thrown that turns watching the game into a grind, the officials have made two very bad errors in the second half. The first came when they flagged Steelers corner Ike Taylor for interfering with Jets receiver Santonio Holmes on a pass (not the one pictured, for which Taylor was correctly flagged earlier in the game) that Holmes bobbled and dropped when hit by Ryan Clark. If Taylor was guilty of anything, it was illegal contact and that’s a stretch given the fact that Taylor didn’t appear to hinder Holmes more than five yards past the line of scrimmage.
When the flag was first thrown it seemed that it might have been on Clark, but his hit on Holmes was legal and, as mentioned, wasn’t the one flagged anyway. Had things stopped there, it would be something you could just chalk up alongside all the other iffy penalty calls over the years.
You can’t be so kind about their ruling on a replay review a short time later. Steelers running back Isaac Redman was ruled down on a tackle by safety Yeremiah Bell, but it looked as if Bell might have wrested the ball free before Redman was down. Rex Ryan challenged the call and CBS showed several replays during the wait for the ruling that showed Redman’s knee was actually down in the backfield well ahead of the tackle. That’s part of the play being under review and the Steelers should have kept the ball with a short loss. The officials ruled that the original call stood, however, and the Steelers seemed to ice the game with a Redman touchdown a short time later.
The outcome of the game probably won’t change because of either call, but it’s been an ugly afternoon for the men in stripes.