Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was careful not to blame the officials for his team’s loss to the Steelers on Saturday night. But Lewis didn’t hide the fact that he saw some inconsistency in the officiating.
In particular, Lewis noted that Vontaze Burfict was called for an incredibly costly penalty on a hit that gave Steelers receiver Antonio Brown a concussion, while Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was not flagged for a hit that gave Bengals running back Giovani Bernard a concussion.
“He’s trying to go over and defend the play. There were a lot of plays out there and calls went different ways,” Lewis said. “They deemed that to be a hit to the head I guess, and others not today.”
The Shazier hit was brutal, but the officials ruled that it was not a penalty. Although Bernard had already established himself as a runner and was not a defenseless receiver on the play, some thought Shazier should have been penalized for leading with the crown of his helmet. A penalty would have had a major impact on the game, as it would have wiped out Bernard’s fumble on the play. Steelers fans also have a complaint with the officials on the play, as Shazier picked up the ball and would have run to the end zone had the officials not wrongly blown the play dead.
Neither team was completely happy with the officials in this game. But both teams made it a tough game for the officials to handle.