Non-call on Steelers touchdown comes under scrutiny

Jeff Triplette and his officiating crew had a rough night Saturday night in Pittsburgh, but a non-call on Pittsburgh’s game-winning touchdown looks like the right decision.

We’ve heard from a lot of folks that believe Steelers tight end David Johnson committed a false start on Rashard Mendenhall’s decisive two-yard score.  After re-watching the play repeatedly in slow motion, it looks like a good non-call.

The confusion comes because Johnson flinches or falls out of his stance.  At full speed, it looks like he may have jumped early.  But Johnson flinches right when the ball is snapped, not before.  If anything, the flinch causes Johnson to be a second late to the play.

Getting this one right doesn’t mean that Triplette’s crew had a good night.  Johnson also committed a clear hold moments before the winning touchdown on the same play Baltimore’s Terrence Cody was called for defensive holding.   (The call on Cody looked legit, but there should have been offsetting penalties.)

The holding call on Baltimore on the Ravens’ apparent punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter was also questionable.  Triplette often looks indecisive and struggles to explain calls clearly.

While the officiating was shaky, it didn’t feel like the difference in the game.

“I’m not in any position to rate the referees,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game.  “It’s not something  I’m qualified to do.   I don’t have a problem with that right now.”

Baltimore had fewer than 200 yards of offense and turned the ball over three times in the second half.  They gave up a 58-yard pass to Antonio Brown on third-and-19 late in a tie game.  Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh took turns dropping game-crushing passes.

The Ravens only have themselves to blame for all of the unforced errors in their disastrous second half collapse.

133 responses to “Non-call on Steelers touchdown comes under scrutiny

  1. God it NEVER FAILS in these games between the Steelers and the Ravens that people are whining about the officials.

    It’s almost as if, and wow what a concept, that the better team on the field WON.

    The Ravens had less than 200 yards and scored 3 points in the 2nd half. If they had simply sustained 1 drive and got a touchdown, they would have won this game.

    You cannot put this on the officials unless you are an extremely bitter and angry Ravens fan who can’t accept the fact you lost to the Steelers in the playoffs. Again.

  2. The officials just keep getting worse and worse. Holding on a D-Lineman????….while the Steelers were mugging a guy in the backfield in plain sight???? Unbelievable. Way too many incompetent officials…or gambling by officials. One or the other, or both.

  3. It’s tough enough to beat the Steelers at home with their “12th man” fans, but it is impossible to beat them at home when they have their 13th man officials. Not to say the Ravens did not hand the game to the Steelers, because they did. But the officiating was HORRIBLE, just ridiculous in a playoff game. If the Ravens players were bad and they were, the Refs were worse. Too bad.

  4. So the entire point of the post is to point out a controversial call that isn’t actually controversial?

    Is this a ploy to incite a comment war?

  5. “The holding call on Baltimore on the Ravens’ apparent punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter was also questionable.”

    The officiating was brutal all game, on both teams, but this one was off the hook terrible.

  6. Please. All you did was give fodder to the idiots who say the Steelers get all the calls. But, meanwhile, when Suggs drilled Roethlisberger in his knee in the first half there was no Ton-Brady-Protect-The-Quarterback penalty called. Plus, what game were you watching??? That holding call on the punt return was exactly the correct call.

    TJ Whosyourmomma dropped a pass that could have kept the game alive. Don’t blame the officials.

    Geez. It was a great game between the game’s two best rivals. Cherish it. Don’t look for controversy where there is none.

  7. What does any of it matter anyway?! The Pats are going to destroy the Steelers. Who gives a crap.

  8. While the officiating was shaky, it didn’t feel like the difference in the game.

    WTF? the hold call alone took away a Ravens touchdown. Add that to the BS defensive holding and the first quarter pass interference and, uh yeah, I’d say they played a SIGNIFICANT part.

  9. What Steelers get refs help at the end of a game really? again? as per usual? I can’t believe it. Just like in Miami? Who would have thought? Were the head ref and linesman from Pittsburgh this time too? Ravens fell apart in the 2nd but Rooney’s Steeler’s get favourable calls or non calls regularly just like the Patriots and Colts.

  10. I just heard John Harbaugh’s post-game press conference on NFL Network and he NEVER criticized the officials. he praised both teams for playing a classic game among two titans. I give him credit for calling it as it was … a tough ngame between two great teams. No controversy here.

  11. @ wtf2812

    Eggzactly. Heinz Ward was the only one to get an unsportsmanship like conduct penalty and he was thrown to the ground and his face mask was grabbed,

  12. So, was the reverse to Mike Wallace that was stuffed by the Ravens’ defense early in the 4th quarter supposed to be the secret pass play that was blabbed by you-know-who (that ESPN correspondent who is now in the federal witness protection program)?

  13. I’m a fan of neither team and I believe the officiating in that game was terrible. You can sum it all up by watching Jim Harbaugh trying to call a timeout and being ignored for about 10 seconds, then spewing expletives afterward.

  14. Johnson jumped early. Miami recovered the end of game fumble by Ben that resulted in the Steelers getting the ball on the 1 yard line. Steelers getanother call/non call in their favour.

  15. Good game from a real rival.

    This game came down to Flacco not getting it done, not officiating. Anyone who says different is just fooling themselves.

    NE is tough… I still like MY team though.

  16. Dear G-d, I hope my fellow Ravens fans aren’t blaming this on the refs! They were atrocious, but it’s not why we lost, and the Steelers won, this game. We got plenty of goats to point to & it’s the same old, same old BS that holds us back every year. Flacco played like crap…missed open recievers, held the ball too long, fumbled, threw an easy pick. He just sucked, and when he did hit his receivers at critical times, they dropped the ball. Mattison & that piece of dung 3 man rush on 3rd & 19. He obviously hasn’t learned…but he won’t go anywhere, because he Harbaugh’s daddy’s boyfriend! Harbaugh’s got a lot of getting better to do if this team will ever advance past one or two playoff wins. I’d put him on the hot seat next year…if there is a next year & it’s more of this mind numbing, victory challenging play, I’d fire his ass…

    Meanwhile, Steeler fans, don’t come carping back about how the refs were bad to both of us. True, they were bad all around, but they were a hell of a lot better to you in their incompetence! Don’t deny it…but admitted, it had no affect on outcome. Steelers snatched victory from us…as they always do!

  17. I think the most egregious non-call of the game was Harbaugh getting a free time-out when he threw the challenge flag for no reason.

    Should have been a charged time-out.

  18. Hey Peyton did you see the hands to the head of Ben on that crazy fumble for a score play?

    Yeh you only see what you want to see.

  19. Thank god! So glad I don’t have to listen to the Ravens all next week talking about the Patriots. This week of listening to the Jets has been more than enough idiocy. Sorry T-sizzle. You had a good game but that’s what happens when you don’t have a Tom Brady on offense. Go Patriots! Crush the Jets… again!

  20. I saw that hold by Johnson and I was certain a flag was coming.

    To be fair, there were about 7 or 8 plays in which every member of Baltimore’s offensive line was holding someone.

    All in all, I would say it was another bad game by the officials.

    Hines Ward and Ed Reed should have had off-setting penalties. On that last drive, Mendenhall got to the one inch line and was pushed back to the two, and then the ball was spotted at the two–they negated his forward progress.

    Ike Taylor should have been flagged for headbutting Douchmenzadeh, and Landry hit two or three players after they were clearly down as well.

    With all that being said, the officiating didn’t really affect the game. Baltimore still gave up back to back to back turnovers in scoring range.

  21. Your free agent stars are supposed to CATCH the ball. All the hope of another superbowl win evaporated as the football bounced off Boldin’s hands at the goal line. The contrast between he and Hines Ward couldn’t have been more glaring. The Ravens receivers ( you too Housch), reminded me ever so much of my Dolphins!

  22. How could I forget Suggs going low on Roethlisberger without any call?


    You’re such a homer. There were 9 or 10 penalties against Pittsburgh. The refs weren’t doing them any favors. Hampton, Woodley and Hood were raped on every play with no call.

    Get your head out of your gigantic a$$hole before you make any comments.

  23. peytonwantsaflag says:
    Jan 15, 2011 9:22 PM
    While the officiating was shaky, it didn’t feel like the difference in the game.

    WTF? the hold call alone took away a Ravens touchdown. Add that to the BS defensive holding and the first quarter pass interference and, uh yeah, I’d say they played a SIGNIFICANT part.


    Both holds were blatant and the pass interference against Wallace was obvious. That was an easy call.

    There were penalties called against both teams. Some were bad calls. For the most part– I would agree that it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Flacco looked overmatched. By my count he only completed 4 passes the entire game downfield (not counting screens or check downs to the RB.) One per quarter. That’s awful.

    The Steelers will face a better QB next week regardless of who wins tomorrow.

  24. The replay showed the guy holding on that runback so that’s a silly comment. And as a Tide fan, I love Mt. Cody, but what better way to ensure clicks than to post a headline about questionable officiating during a Steelers game? Let me guess … you’re going to post something about a mystery guy seen with a video camera at the Pats game! 😆

  25. Johnantonio— the thing about the Ike headbunt…Watch what TJ did to i believe it was Madison prior to Ike coming over to Noone wanted to show that.

    i have a nice pic of a facemask too that wasnt called against the birds.

  26. anybody else watching espn a couple nights ago when Dilfer came on and said the game was going to be decided by the refs? THE FIX WAS IN! and Dilfer knew it and was trying to tell the world…

  27. Harbaugh getting a free time-out when he threw the challenge flag for no reason

    it wasn’t for no reason, the refs weren’t clear on the downs and he assumed Pitt had been given a first down. If you recall the last time they played Pissburgh was give 2 free firstdowns.

  28. I don’t agree with you MSWRAVENS; the officiating was horrible the entire game but like the weathear, it was on both sides of the field. That said, the Ravens were up 21-7 and could not hold it. Joe Flacco made one mistake and I believe it shattered his confidence which resulted in even more mistakes…but…I’m not a clinical psychologist so what do I know…just sayin…

  29. Comes under scrutiny from whom? PFT? Please.

    FYI, Michael Ohrer false starts on EVERY play!

    Why no mention of Terrell Thugg’s no-call for a hit to Roethlisberger’s head on the fumble?? He also tried to hit Roethlisberger in the knees on the play before that. Again, no-call. Had that been Tom Lady, Thuggs would have been ejected and fined $250,000.

    The Steelers were penalized 9 TIMES for 96 YARDS, while the Ravens were only penalized 6 times for 74 yards. Advantage: Ravens.

  30. As an unbiased observer who did not care who won, I don’t think calls or the lack there of changed the outcome. That being said, is it just me or do most of the refs look 65 years old. They appear to not be in great shape and have questionable eye sight

  31. The bottom line is this…the ravens had plenty of opportunities to win that game. For anyone who is a fan of ANY team to blame the officials is ridiculous! Of course they miss and/or make bad calls at times, but u have to make the plays when they are right in front of u, and the ravens didnt do that today. In the end, Boldin and Housh’s drops were far more critical to the outcome than a possible missed call on the TD run. And for the record, I dont think there was a penalty on the play. I’m a Vikings fan, so my opinion is unbiased, just my 2 cents.

  32. i’m not a big fan of either one of these teams but i am really,really disappointed with the play calling thru out the nfl and i believe one of the biggest problems is how complicated the nfl has made the rules of the game so i can understand some bad calls/no calls but i don’t get how so may calls that are clear to anyone else watching are not that clear to some of these game refs.makes me think that there is more to it than just a bad or no call

  33. this is a meaningless article at best.a waste of internet space.i wont comment any further.ravens lost plain and simple.not like officials got a call on the low hit on ben either.but ben didnt complain

  34. Did the refs make Rice fumble when barely being touched?

    Did the refs make Flacco overthrow Heap and right to Ryan Clark?

    Did the refs keep the Ravens defense from holding the Steelers to field goals instead of touchdowns off those turnovers?

    Did the refs help the Steelers defense keep the Ravens to 126 yards of total of offense?

    Did the refs make Bolidin drop a TD and TJ drop a key first down?

    btw… when my comments are deleted – that’s when I know they were on the money – truth hurts just a little bit?

  35. Was it the officials that completed the 50 yard pass to Brown?

    Was it the officials that committed 3 turnovers on 3 consecutive drives?

    Was it the officials that held the Ravens to 100 yards of offense?

    Was it the officials that dropped an easy TD pass?

    Was it the officials that dropped an easy 4th down pass at the end of the game?

    The better team won. If the Ravens couldn’t put them away with a 2 score lead, they deserved to lose.

  36. The officiating was horrible the whole game. But what matters is the Steelers can claim again to be the better team. I really wished they’d just let the players play the game instead of calling penalties every time someone sneezed.

    I hope the rivalry continues to be strong next year. The Steelers may claim more victories, but they cannot say Baltimore is a pushover. How many games in a row have been decided by a TD or less?

  37. After reading all these Facebook posts … here’s a crazy idea for the Ravens, PLAY BETTER!! PLAY BETTER FOR 60 MINUTES and you will win!!!!!! Officials this, drops that, play-calling this, Cam Cameron that … just play better and you will win!!!!

  38. peytonwantsaflag says: Jan 15, 2011 9:45 PM

    it wasn’t for no reason, the refs weren’t clear on the downs and he assumed Pitt had been given a first down. If you recall the last time they played Pissburgh was give 2 free firstdowns.

    Correction. The refs knew it was 4-1. Harbaugh was the only one confused because he couldn’t believe the Steelers would go for it on 4-1 in that situation – he and the Ravens staff were caught off-guard. He should have had to take TO. He did in fact get a freebie TO.

  39. Triplette’s crew definitely had a tough night, but one call that was right was the hold on on the punt return – it was obvious even at full speed.
    There was also a play in the first quarter, I can’t remember when exactly but the Steeler defender was basically tackled in front of the ref, but of course no flag – the whole crowd was yelling before the play was over it was so obvious.
    How does Ward get a PF on that one play? My point is that bad calls are a part of the game.

    @ tobiasjodter – exactly right.

    anyone else notice how it looks like Triplette is smirking as he announces the calls?

  40. Why is NO ONE talking about the hit to the head on Roethlisberger by Suggs when he fumbled? Should have been a personal foul!!!! Then the going low on the quarterback!!!! very obvious!!!! but no one noticed right????????? Ravens deserved to lose this game……

  41. This is always the same song when these two teams meet.

    A few facts need to be addressed, first football is a team sport and it takes a team to win and lose. Second to win a football game it helps to play four full quarters. Neither team followed the two above mentioned rules. The team that won was the team that didn’t blow it at the end.

    As Chicago Cub fans have been known to say, ‘there always next year’. Baltimore there is always next year.

  42. @mswravens …

    Very classy post. Thank you. It was a nail-biter. Think you’re being a wee bit hard on Flacco. His “name” receivers really let him down. Here’s hoping our teams will be back at it next year!

  43. officiating not so good, the steelers looked like they were high in the first half, and then ravens came out and acted like they were high in the second half. A sloppy game only fun to watch if you were a steelers fan. I don’t see how anyone can blame the refs for the outcome of this game though. Flacco fell apart and his recievers didn’t help him any. What a great rivalry though.

  44. For anyone who thinks the officiating played a role in the Steelers’ win, you should be listenting to the Ravens and their coach AFTER THE GAME. they are all praising the Steelers and blaming themselves, as it should be.

    I do think the officiating left a lot to be desired, but it really does go both ways. I heard on TV that Triplett’s crew calls more penalties than any other crew. If that is so, why does the NFL give such high profile games to crews like that? Ask GODell.

    I’m a Steelers fan, but I have mad respect for Suggs and there is no better big-game quarterback than Roethlisberger. In the clutch, the guy is amazing.

  45. The bad calls went both ways, as typically happens. It’s just that fans of the losing team (or people who simply don’t like the winning team) will almost always focus on the ones that hurt the losing team. For instance, I seem to remember early in the game that Hines Ward, and only Hines Ward, was called for a personal foul when both he and the defender were yanking on each other’s face masks, and a couple of other Ravens came over to take shots at Ward. That clearly should have been offsetting personal fouls. The Steelers overcame the call, however, and went on to score a TD that drive. Expecting a perfectly called game is ridiculous. Refs are human, and as such will make mistakes. It’s up to each team to get the job done regardless. Besides, the last thing that game needed was more flags being thrown.

  46. It doesn’t matter, Steelers fans can get tiny little boners for a week, only to be crushed by the pats. Then you guys can complain that the refs cost you the game becasue they favor Tom Brady over your (alleged) LOL. rapist QB.

  47. Bad calls? Definitely. Against the Ravens only? Please.

    The Ravens committed an ankle low chop-block to a Steeler defender that was so open field and textbook that it defies imagination that it wasn’t called…… and every Raven fan clearly saw that one as it was the only thing in view of the camera. So quit your after game whining.

    BS calls and non-calls were made against both teams.

    These refs stunk, but the Ravens stunk worse. This was one of the worst showings in the history of the playoffs, period.

  48. Where were the complaints about the refs when Steelers were getting shafted in prior games? What about the last Ravens -Steelers game where the ref missed three 15 yarders?

    Steelers will get killed if they play such mistake laden offense and special teams against the Pats.
    But the defense in the 3rd Q was the best Steelers defensive effort in the last decade. Singlehandedly won the game for the team.

    Bad things for the Steelers:
    1) Tomlin’s second challenge. If a single assistant saw the replay, they would have told TOmlin it was obviously a fumble
    2) Tomlin not getting the team to get the message that they need to play to the whistle after Arnaz Battle gave up on a play after Suisham made his opening kickoff tackle. Luckily the challnege overturned the bad on field ref ruling. But you would have thought after that, the Steelers would be on the watchout for playing until the whistle. On the Ben fumble, lesson not clearly learned.
    3) Arians is still a moron. Some godawful playcalling. THe defense was responsible for the comeback scoring except for one great throw by Ben. And then they needed four downs to get 3 yards in the red zone at the end. Cam Cameron didnt do such a good job either.
    4) Wallace did not deliver. redman should ahve been used more.
    5) Terrible play by the Ravens WRs.
    6) Terrible Steelers ST play.
    7) Ryan Clark delivered what we expect from Polamalu. Amazing that Steelers defense had by far their best game without Troy being a factor.
    8) Suggs was unstoppable. Just awesome in that second period.
    9) Ben had a mediocre game. But somehow he frequently kills the Ravens at the end of games.
    10) I wonder if ravens defensemen will take pillow covers with soap and beat the crap of their offensive teammates while they are sleeping.

  49. Both teams looked flawed, but as I suspected…Flacco couldn’t get it done. He had wide open receivers yet he goes to his binky in Todd Heap. How do you have ballers like Boldin, Mason, Heap, and other complimentary WR that can usually do a solid job…and then come out and miss guys all over the place? The Steelers D is good no doubt…but come on.

    Steelers were definitely better today and the outcome supports that. Ravens again showed they can’t measure up when it truly counts.

    I don’t think the refs had much to do with the eventual outcome, but I was unhappy that Triplette and Co. felt it necessary to become a prominent part of the game. I don’t want to watch the refs…i want to watch the players get after it and play tough, smart, playoff football. They were too nitpicky against both teams.

  50. I don’t want to hear terrell Sucks whine about Brady whining to the officials anymore when in the 1st half of this game, his offensive teammates were whining after EVERY freakin incomplete pass lookin for a flag.

    God, I’m so glad the Ravens got bumped. I’m no Steeler fan, but I was pullin for you today. As a Pats fan, I’m just glad the “pin the ball to the helmet” catch got outta the way today!

  51. Whaaaa, the referees [sniffle-sniffle] our vaginas hurt now, whaaaaa.

    Damn rat-bird fans. When will you stop with this referee crap. They suck PERIOD! For both teams, the referees should have put on helmets and played, they were so involved.

    Clearly the Ravens and Flacco gagged in the second half and the Steelers came to play in the second half. Just goes to show that Flacco, while still a good QB, needs some work before he becomes a super bowl contending QB. Too many inaccurate throws, lobbed the ball when it should have been rifled in, rifled the ball when some touch was needed.

    Roethlisberger, on the other hand, looked sharp in the face of the pass rush. Knew when to take a sack and when to throw it.

    Did Ray-Ray run away from the media again??

  52. Love how this site likes to delete your comments when they make sense. With that said, I don’t like either team and hope Pitt gets rolled next week. The Refs didn’t give Pitt anything,they beat the Ratbirds PERIOD! Flacco,Boldin and Housh failed him really bad. Where was Mason and the D held up for awhile but couldn’t stop Pitt in the 2nd half. By the way,Ratbirds won the 1st half and Stillers won the 2nd.
    ‘NUFF SAID????

  53. The ravens blew it on Offense. The drops were especially bad when they had a shot and made a big difference. They shot themselves in the foot.

    Having said that, the calls were BS and were also critical to the tide of the game. To say otherwise is just stupid. You can be critical of the ravens and the officials, they are not mutually exclusive.

  54. There needs to be a happy medium (as happy as I can get for having watched the most devastating a game as I’ve ever watched as a Boldin fan – yeah, I stick with organizations in every other sport (Raptors, White Sox, Penguins) but I have found myself liking Boldin’s team best wherever he goes).

    1. If you don’t think the calls affected the outcome at all, there’s no reason to really comment. You aren’t going to change the minds of the people who believe the contrary.

    2. If you are a Ravens fan like myself, you have to think that even if the calls had been made right, the Ravens weren’t going to win the Super Bowl this season.

    So I guess I’m somewhere in between. The fact is Cam Cameron and the refs determined the outcome but I don’t really think Triplette was paid off, so I can shrug off the bad calls as “stuff happens”. Aggressive offenses make enough plays that they can cover for bad plays, turnovers and bad calls.

    Let’s be honest, Ravens fans…even if they had called offensive interference the two times it happened (the one time, they called it on Josh Wilson and gave them 37 yards; the other time, they didn’t call it at all) and if they had caught the head butt and the other late hit that the Steelers cultists Dierdorf and Gumbel were even noticing, Cam Cameron would have lost the Ravens the next game or the Super Bowl.

    I both take comfort in that and hope Anquan Boldin threatens to not go to training camp until Cam Cameron is fired.

  55. these games come down to who loses it not the other way around. ravens did a better job on that. had more turnovers always in their own red zone, missed wide open receivers, boldin drops td pass and finally housmanzedah drops a 4th down pass in pittsburgh’s end of the field that would have been a first down.

    twice in a row vs steelers ravens/flacco have blown it on their own. had both games well in control

  56. Shut up you bunch of Steel hatin’ cry babies. Pitt kicked the bunk out of the Ravens and that’s it. so go home and cry me a phu##in river.

  57. Ok benstinky fingers…or whatever you call yourself…..first of all beat the Jets…bigmouth!!!

    Call Roethlisberger whatever your little 3rd grade mind desires…….he’s creepin up on Tommy Boy…who by the way,i totally respect and acknowledge as the games best..

    I judge quarerbacks by the big wins in big spots,,thats the only stat that matters…your boy has 3 rings…god bless him…..Our guy has 2!!

    In my book,Brady is the best….he’s earned it..3 superbowl wins in 9 years….Our guy has 2 in 6 years…and damn,he may be coming to Foxboro…I believe Ben is right there with him,not Brees,Manning,Rivers,the so called (elite quarterbacks)……in terms of clutch plays in big games in big spots….

    Hopefully in two weeks,these 2 will clash…and if you think it will be as easy as it was in the regular season,you may want to think again…if you are capable??….By the way Roethlisberger has never lost a post season game on the road….See you in Foxboro….if you can beat the Jets!!

  58. LOL…..scrutiny my ass. I’ve been watching post game for the last couple hours. No mention. Keep trying. I know poking the largest and most devoted NFL fanbase (Steelers Nation) gets hits so I don’t blame you for trying.

    Stairway to Seven.

  59. @frankvzappa …

    Hey, I just watched Dilfer rip the Ravens up one side and down the other for all the stupid mistakes their offense made to lose the game. Guess he forgot about predicting the officials would fix it. LOL Moron.

  60. I must say blaming the refs for a loss has become quite a trend for NFL fans. God how tired we Saints fans became hearing from Viking fans last year that the refs gave the NFC Championship game to the Saints.

    In an article this week in SI, there was a study made to confirm or destroy the myth of “homefield advantage”. It was applied to all sports. The analysis found that homefield advantage was only a significant factor in football. The cause? Refs. There argument rested on the fact refs are human and influenced by the large body of fans for the home field. They backed up their assertion with statistical data. Not saying I swallow it, but there you are.

    Baltimore had this game at 21-7, they got rattled and choked. They did come back at the end, but a dropped pass in the endzone was the final nail.

  61. The game was a complete joke. The Ravens were terrible. The Steelers were terrible. The officials were terrible. My favorite part was when the Steelers had 4th and one. Harbaugh throws the challenge flag to get a free clock stoppage. When the officials re-mark the ball, they advance it a half yard. Then the Steeler center grabs the ball to get ready to snap it. He advances the ball another half yard. The Steelers had the first down before they snapped it. Classic.

  62. Seriously, what was up with that return holding call? They either didn’t have or didn’t show the front view, and maybe something really blatant happened on the leading shoulder, but from the back it looked at best like the textbook definition of a “let the guys play” penalty and, at worst, like one of the two teams in the AFC Championship just got decided via hallucination.

  63. if anybody doesn’t believe that there was an actual hold that occurred on the Ravens on that punt return, you need to go to NFL.COM – go to the video highlights section of the Ravens-Steelers game, click on the link for the punt return and pay attention to the lower left of the screen at around the 12 second mark, if you still don’t see it you have three choices:

    1. get your eyes checked
    2. have your mother explain it to you
    3. admit to yourself that you’re just too stupid to watch football and actually understand what just happened

    there was absolutely nothing questionable about that holding call, CBS did a piss poor job of showing it on the replay and chose a bad angle

    the live view we saw when the play was happening captures the hold occurring – again at the 12 second mark, so suck it up Ravens fans, you only had 3 first downs the entire 2nd half and Flacco lost his composure when Rice fumbled and came apart like a cheap wristwatch

  64. There are a whole lot of undeserving teams that make it to the Super Bowl because of the human element of marginal officiating. Whether it is real or promoted by the NFL to makesure the right teams get there at the end we might not ever know. Another example a few years back with Referee Walt Coleman and the Famous out of nowhere “Tuck Rule” which more than likely cost the Oakland Raiders a Super Bowl but launched a huge run for the Pats. Conspiracy Theory who knows? Like with tonights game the best team probably didn’t win but the team that will bring in the biggest ratings for next week did. Triplett is a douche who has been involved in many controversial calls, best place for him is in the pasture with the rest of the heard

  65. Judging by the thumbs ratings, an overwhelming majority here are Steelers fans. As neither a fan of the Steelers or the Ravens, the officiating in that game absolutely sucked! Plagued by overzealous officials wanting to make a name for themselves.

    “While the officiating was shaky, it didn’t feel like the difference in the game.”

    That’s one of the most imbecile thoughts I’ve ever heard. The erroneous holding call on the return for a td made the difference between taking a 4 pt. lead or a tie for the Ravens with less than 5 mins left in the game.

    The non-call on the late by the Pitt O-lineman happened in the red zone. Much more difficult to score a td.

    If a proper call was made on the holding by Johnson of Pittsburgh, would’ve meant a re-do of down and 3rd & goal instead of 1st & goal inside of 2 mins. It played a CRUCIAL role in the time B-More would’ve had left to score.

    The Bolden & Housh dropped passes are irrelevant; doesn’t lessen nor negate the bad officiating. The officiating in every way favored Pittsburgh.

  66. AlanSaysYo says: Jan 15, 2011 9:27 PM

    I’m a fan of neither team and I believe the officiating in that game was terrible. You can sum it all up by watching Jim Harbaugh…”


    Jim wasn’t there, that would be JOHN Harbaugh on the Ravens sideline.

    He’s Jim’s brother.

    True story.

  67. The sad fact of the matter is, although there were some bad calls, none of those calls lost us the game. We had a shot at Mendenhall on the TD and he shouldn’t have gotten in anyway. The holding on the PR was a bummer but we still had great field position and should have scored. We had Boldin drop a TD pass and TJ drop a first down catch on 4-looong. It just wasn’t our day, and that had nothing to do with the officials.

  68. The Ravens only have themselves to blame for all of the unforced errors in their disastrous second half collapse”


    The Steeler Defense should get some credit in that too….

    the pressure constantly applied to the Ravens took them out of their comfort zone…

    Maybe their killing of KC put them in a frame of mind of being great !

  69. Non-call on Steelers touchdown comes under scrutiny

    The only one scrutinizing this is PFT. Why does every game have to be about the Refs. Are the refs perfect? No. But they did not affect the outcome of the game.

    There can be a holding call on every play. Harrison and Woodley get held on every down.

    Why not scutinize 126 total offense. How about (2) dropped balls from your star receivers.

    All you Steeler haters need to come to terms that the Steelers were the better team tonight. The Refs did not beat the Ravens the Steelers did. Get over it.

  70. Non calls happen in every game as do bad calls. To keepmsuggesting somehow the NFL wants the Steelers to win by not calling calls or calling certain calls and not others is an attempt to justify why your team lost.

    In espousing this point of view you conveniently forget the non call on the arm to Big Ben’s head and the hit by Suggs below the waist. These are not discretionary calls. They are clear rules violations and they were not called. You also conveniently forget Hines Ward’s extremely iffy personal foul call which put the Steelers at 2nd and 19, deep in their end zone after the first play of the game.

    Bad calls happened to both teams in this game. Both teams had plenty to be concerned about. The difference is the Steelers overcame those challenges. The Ratbirds did not. We were second and 18 deep in our end zone. Where was the Ratbird defense? Right. Watching the Steelers convert and then march down the field to score a TD. Iffy pass interference call? Okay. Why didn’t your D step up like Ray Ray says they will and hold the Steelers to a FG? TD taken off the board? Well, you still got the ball at the 29 didn’t you? And what did your team do? yeah, your 8 million dollar receiver dropped the ball and you settled for a FG. With the game tied you still let us march down the field and score a TD. You had us at 3rd and 19. 3rd and 19! And we converted. By throwing to a rookie receiver who wasn’t even active for most of the year. He blew by your guy and made the catch, a much harder catch then the ones dropped by Boldin and TJ. And you dont like the non call on the hold (sorry, just because defensive holding isn’t called often doesnt mean it didn’t happen – that was a defensive penalty and it happened right in front of the ref). Fine. But defensive stands still happen don’t they? Especially when it is clear the Steelers are running the ball at that point in the game. We still score by Mendenhall outmanning you, including Ray. And when you get a chance, with a lot of time on the clock, to go down the field to tie the game, what do you do? You first end up in a third and long by being sacked on second down. And then one of your supposed clutch guys who has cried for the ball all year, drops it.

    Do you recall the SB a few years ago? Cardinals have the ball at the one yard line? Just before the half? About to go up? Harrison makes one of the plays of all time and takes it all the way back for a TD? Remember how the Cards came back and were winning the game and we got the ball back and then promptly took a holding penalty so that we started deep in our own end zone with a first and twenty? Ad then marched down the field and scored a game winning TD? Remember how Holmes dropped an easy pass in the end zone but on the very next play made one of the great catches of all time? That’s what great teams do. Teams that want to be great talk about it. Great teams actually go do it.

    Get over it Ratbird fans. You got beat. You were up 14 and were putting the screws to us and we came back and smacked you down. 126 yards of total offense. A buck and change in yardage. Know how many times the Ratbirds have held a O to that few yards in the playoffs? Right. Never.

    Enjoy your offseason.

  71. @Deb – thanks. @mborz – thanks as well!

    for a City that was screwed over by the Colts, and then the NFL, to have a team in its 15th year of existence to be involved in the widely recognized “best rivalry in the NFL if not all sports” is truly an honor. We’d be kidding ouselves if we didn’t recognize that the rivalry exists largey because the Steeers are one of the premier & storied franchises in the history of the NFL. And to this point, it’s still a big brother-little brother relationship, and we all know who the little brother is in this story. Even when it looks like we’ll pull it out, big brother manages to beat us again. Our day will come. Our coaching & QB play isn’t good enough. Hope that will change. In the meantime, it’s a great rivalry & a lot of fun, but this one will definitely sting for a while.

    On another note – I think it’s time for the NFL world to recognize that it’s no longer a question of Brady v Manning…it’s Brady v. Ben. If you NEED to win a game, who do you want? I take Brady 1st, Ben 2nd…might not even take Manning 3rd. Between the lines, Ben is simply incredible. Steelers successisn’t all about Ben, as much as Pats is w/Brady & Colts is w/Manning…but come one, where are they without Ben???

  72. A phantom holding call negating an opponent’s TD in the post-season against the Steelers??? The Seattle Seahawks say, “That’s a shocker!”

  73. The whining that comes after any Steeler win is hysterical. Anyone who bitches about the officiating but doesn’t mention the constant holding of James Harrison is a hypocrite with no credibility.

  74. Nickster, the flag challenge was thrown because he thought the ref signaled a first down and he was going to challenge the spot. The Ref told him it was 4th down and the flag was put back in Harbaughs pocket. That is not reason for a time out. Watch the game and relax.

  75. @muhangis “The Bolden & Housh dropped passes are irrelevant.”

    Congratulations, you’re made by FAR the most idiodic statement on a sports blog in the history of the internet, and that’s quite a feat.

  76. the only call I would question is the hold on the Lardarius Webb TD, that was a bunch of crap. That being said, I support my team 100% but the Ravens were absolute garbage in the 2nd half, Cam Cameron doesn’t deserve to have a job. I would be fine if the Ravens didn’t win the Superbowl, but to lose like that to the Steelers is just disgraceful

  77. Big ben is an amazing gametime player. He can improvise like no other. Suggs also played great. It was a great game. The calls went both ways i thought. One that no one is talking about is when clark i beleive head butted housh and then it was returned and the ref was just watching the exchange.

  78. mswravens…..A little history. The colts did not screw the city of Baltimore. At a time when 1, 000,000 people lived in Baltimore city alone, they couldn’t get 30,000 people to a game. Not to mention a fan base of all of Baltimore county. when only 30,000 show for games you don’t pay the bills. Cleveland offered a new much needed stadium and some cash. they left. I didn’t complain at the time, because I couldn’t afford, therefore didn’t attend games.

    As for Suggs hitting Ben Rapesemberger low, yes he did, but again all of you NFL film fans, he was pushed directly into Rapersbeger, after being held up. That was seen and the reason for the non-call. Hope you enjoyed your last victory of the season. Go Pats.

  79. Did anyone notice, on the play right before Flacco’s last touchdown, that a Steelers defensive player broke through the line and was about to get flacco for a big loss but he was nailed in the back of the knee by a lunging ravens lineman? That should have put them back a few yards.

  80. Poor wittle wavens couldn’t win because of the bad wefewee man. WaaaAAAAAAA!

    Do referees get all the calls correct? Nope. They didn’t call a “Brady” rule penalty on Suggs when he lunged forward from the ground and hit Ben in the knee after the pass had left his hands. Also, when Suggs had the forced fumble, he smacked Ben in the helmet while he was stripping the ball.

    The real reason the Ravens lost Saturday is because they played like garbage. They were handed a 2 TD lead going into the half and self destructed in the second half and allowed the Steelers back into the game.

    When a team only generates 95 yds of offense in the first 3 quarters, they have much bigger problems than the officiating.

  81. wvusteelerfan says: Jan 16, 2011 9:02 AM

    Big ben is an amazing gametime player. He can improvise like no other. Suggs also played great. It was a great game. The calls went both ways i thought. One that no one is talking about is when clark i beleive head butted housh and then it was returned and the ref was just watching the exchange.

    sorry for the caps.LOL

  82. The non-call comes under scrutiny by who? PFT? Are you also scrutinizing the other non-calls like the low hit by Suggs against Ben or the non-call on Ben’s fumble when he was hit in the head? Yeah, didn’t think so. Dolts.

    The holding call on the punt return was not “questionable”, as you say. It was totally obvious, even at full speed. In slo-mo from the reverse angle, you can see the number on the Steeler guy’s jersey get deformed as his jersey is being pulled. Pretty clear.

  83. The officiating was poor for a crew that was working a postseason game, but the Ravens loss had more to do with their inability to protect the ball in the second half and catching crucial passes late in the game.

  84. muhangis says: Jan 16, 2011 3:17 AM -Did u watch the game???? Steelers were called for 9penalties for 93yrds…ravens 6for 74…Righttttttttttttttt

    Steelers had to burn a challenge on a play a blind man could of called from the gate……………..shut up already.

    Steelers D played an awesome second half and the O took advantage of the same opportunities that the Ravens did in the first half.Ben was taken a beating and still found a way to win it…like he does sooo often.

    screw all of you who keep tryin to blame officials and tryin to take away that my D played awesome or that my O didnt battle for every yard they gained yesterday.

  85. I am neither a Steeler or Raven fan and I had no vested interest in who won the game. I can say for sure that the Steelers got some very favorable calls and non calls. These officials are going to cost a team a SB and thats when maybe things will change. I have seen too many games where it changes the momentum of a game.


    You can’t help but wonder why in big games do the Steelers always seem to come out on top when it comes to “questionable” calls.

    just ask the Houston Oilers, Seattle Seahawks Oakland Raiders and Ravens. It is true Steelers do get the calls and you can not argue that!!! I know Steeler fans will come at me but facts are facts. That is a totally different game if the officials do not make those questionable calls last night.

    I challenge Steeler fans to give me 1 example of a call in a playoff/superbowl game that went against them, off the top of my head without research I can think of 4 examples

  87. Hey ALREGGIE

    You do realize that if a player is being held and cannot turn that is A HOLD. Go look up the picture on the Baltimore Sun site. HE Was being held.


    What about the non call on BEN being hit in the head on that crazy fumble play? Or when he was hit below the knee and no flag???

    Funny how selective some of you are.

  88. I couldn’t care less about either team, but I thought lot of calls against the Ravens were bogus. You hear year after year that the referees overlook close calls and let them go at it in the playoffs. The holding call on the punt return for a touchdown was very questionable at best and a defensive hold on a running play, c’mon man. On the same play, a offensive lineman had a defensive player in a headlock, bringing him to the ground. During this crucial fourth quarter, the referees did seem to favor the Steelers.

  89. He did move a split second before the ball, his backside jerks up before the ball moves. With that AWFUL ref crew it makes sense that they didnt catch it..

  90. Look, there’s 50 examples of bad/non calls on both sides.

    The Steelers’ #88 Sanders took a helmet first hit “On a defenseless receiver” on 2nd and 19 (Final drive) that has earned the Steelers MULTIPLE penalties and fines through the whole season. No call. The refs stink.

    The refs didn’t cause the Steelers to fumble twice in the shadow of their own goal posts. The refs didn’t make the Steelers miss a field goal.

    Likewise the refs did not cause three Ravens turnovers, make the receivers drop passes, or make the offense pathetic.

    When Ravens receivers drop passes their grandmothers could have caught, they’re not going to win the game. When the Ravens can’t get 100 yards of offense in three quarters, they’re not going to win the game. When the Ravens have 35 yards total rushing, they’re not going to win the game. When the Ravens turn the ball over three times, they’re not going to win the game. When the Ravens drop EIGHT into coverage, but still allow a 58 yard completion, they’re not going to win the game.

    And when YOU ignore the above and instead blame refs who called more penalties against Pittsburgh anyway, you’ll never have a set of balls.

  91. alreggie says: Jan 16, 2011 10:09 AM

    The punt return holding call was totally bogus. The Steeler couldn’t turn around so he just “flopped”. Bad call that nullifed a Raven TD.


    Did you look at the photo?

    I didn’t think so. Don’t look at whether he was holding at the exact moment Webb blew by him as he “flopped”. The flag came out because of the hold before that which kept Allen from getting over to attempt to make a play. I saw it, the refs saw it, everyone saw it. Some just choose to think it should have been let go. Keep it clean and it won’t be called.

  92. @joeinbuffalo: I challenge Steeler fans to give me 1 example of a call in a playoff/superbowl game that went against them

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    You mean like the overturned interception that Polamalu made against Manning in the 2005 playoffs that the NFL later admitted was a mistake?

    Steelers overcame that horrendous call and still won the game.

  93. I thought the earlier statement that the Ravens’ drops were “irrelevant” was the dumbest sports blog statement ever made. I stand corrected by @joeinbuffalo’s above embarrassment. Nice smack @mborz!

    Also, nice find on that photo, @tobiasjodter! Reminds me of how the Arizona fans were made to shut up after photos came out of toes planted in the turf by Holmes in the Super Bowl.

  94. @joeinbuffalo …

    Dallas scored in SBXXX when TE Jay Novacek took out the defender with an illegal pick. The final score of that game was one point closer than the final score of our win over Seattle in SBXL. But you don’t hear us ranting about that play years after the fact. That’s because big boys and girls don’t whine about the ref. Someone else also pointed out the ridiculous call on Polamalu’s INT in the Colts game that nearly cost us the trip to SBXL in 05. Those are two big calls in big games. But there are dozens of examples because just as many bad calls have gone against us as against any other team.

    Once the first team starts whining about this kind of thing–as happened with us in SBXL–then everyone picks up on the theme. Everyone starts scrutinizing every play. NFL refs make a lot of unacceptable errors. Since the Steelers are the most successful team of the Super Bowl era, in terms of championships, other fans resent them. It’s just easier to blame the refs for the success of a disliked rival. People key on one or two calls and often give them much more weight than they deserve.

    Take the return TD last night. I believe the hold call was good–thought so when I saw it live. But let’s say they didn’t flag that. Okay … the Ravens would have had 28. The Steelers finished with 31. We still would have won. And if Big-Bucks Boldin had caught the ball, they still would have had that TD instead of the field goal.

    Same with SBXL. Go back and watch the game. Some of those calls/noncalls went in Seattle’s favor. It’s all just sour grapes. You get used to it. If they’re not whining about you, then you’re not winning.

  95. Deb:

    Same with SBXL. Go back and watch the game. Some of those calls/noncalls went in Seattle’s favor. It’s all just sour grapes. You get used to it. If they’re not whining about you, then you’re not winning.

    Exactly. The whining used to make me angry, but now it just makes me laugh.

  96. After such an incredible hard fought and exciting game, shame on PFT even have an article like this, other than merely as a blatant attempt to get posts (which of course from the count here was successful).

    The Steelers won the game because their defense was ferocious, Ben made plays when it counted, and the Ravens didn’t make plays when it counted. Both teams are very good, but the Steelers are better. The Steelers were able to overcome adversity and come back to win. I sincerely hope no Ravens fan is making any excuses for losing that game, unlike what PFT is trying to insinuate with this article. Take it like a man and get over it and move on.

    The officiating has been horrible the entire year, what makes anyone think it will be better in the playoffs? But, in no way, shape or form did the officiating change the end result of the game.

    Congrats to the Steelers!


  97. You might be a whiner if you accuse biased officials of throwing the game to the other team… when your team got penalized 1/3 FEWER times than the winning team.

    You might be a whiner if you blame officiating for a loss… when your anemic offense eeked out a paltry 126 yards.

    You might be a whiner if you believe the refs cost you the game… when your QB had a pathetic 61.1 passer rating and the winning QB a sterling 101.8.

    You might be a whiner if think the officials caused the loss… when your offense turned over the ball on their own side of the field on three straight possessions.

    You might be a whiner if you think a bogus holding call that took back a TD cost you the game… when your team had a chance to overcome a tough call and get the TD back but your star WR let a sure TD bounce off his chest in the end zone.

    You might be a whiner if you absolve your team of blame and focus on officiating… when the winning TD was set up by a 58 yard pass completion on a 3rd and 19 when your defense was playing prevent.

  98. For all of you whiners that are complaining that it wasn’t a hold on the punt return, here’s a nice picture for you to look at and tell me what it’s showing. This is what the ref that threw the flag would have been looking at.

  99. Bad reporting. Yes, BAL had less than 200 yards of total offense. A whole lot less. They had *126* yards of offense – 68 of which were on the first drive. They didn’t lose because of turnovers – they had one more than PIT. They lost because they had a grand total of 32 yards of offense in the last 3 quarters.

  100. @ bltzburgh –

    Man, that is perfect. Amazing. Hopefully that will shut up everyone who thinks that was a bad call.

  101. I’m certainly not one to defend refs that it seems do have “off-the-books” income in almost every proffesional game played. However, the continued discussion about the Ravens holding call during the TD return was the correct call. I called holding (from the couch) 2 seconds before the flag was thrown. Near the sideline as the jets returner is running towards them…a jets deffender clearly keeps a hold a Steeler player as he is trying to get away but can’t as the Jets player has a hold of his jersey / shoulder pads.

  102. now, looking at it as JUST a fan of football in general, forget the outcome of the game, forget about being a Raven or a steeler fan, what irks me the most is that these 2 teams play their hearts out for us, they put their bodies, families, futures, careers, etc ALL on the line for us fans and a paycheck, for an awful officiating crew to ruin the greatest rivalry in sports disgusts me… who cares who came out with the W, the officials gave NO JUSTICE AT ALL to which team was better, and that’s the only thing i asked for before this game was that the officiating be up to par and to let the players decide for us who was the better team… and im sad to say… im still not conviced that either team is better than the other and that’s what most of us wanted, a third and final game to decide which of these two juggernauts was the best, and the officials completely took that from ALL of us if you ask me, not fair to either team, this sucks

  103. dumbaseinstien says: Jan 17, 2011 4:49 PM

    “I’m certainly not one to defend refs … I called holding (from the couch) 2 seconds before the flag was thrown. Near the sideline as the jets returner is running towards them…a jets deffender[sic] clearly keeps a hold a Steeler player as he is trying to get away but can’t as the Jets player has a hold of his jersey / shoulder pads.”


    Dude, you must be clairvoyant. The Jets and the Steelers don’t even play each other until Sunday. Now I definitely have to watch this game and if your prediction comes true, I’m going to email you about some future lottery picks.

  104. The refs simply helped the Ravens lose the game. Their bad calls might have changed the outcome, but it shouldn’t have been anything the offense couldn’t overcome. The refs didn’t drop those passes (and neither did Flacco, you ****ing idiots).

  105. @raven4life21,
    I’m a Steelers fan and I know exactly what you are talking about. I’m not getting into they cheat for you or us, but come on a flag every other play on which other team was pathetic.
    It does take from the enjoyment of the game. This crew does this no matter where they go and should be banned for life. I think they do it so as to be on national TV. I also think they record these games and get off when they play them back and I just picture them with their wives” oh baby look at me and how far and often I can toss the yellow hanky” she then coos in his ear and while he is in his striped suit and telling him how strong he must be for tossing that yellow rag 50 times a game for 20yds a pop., lets see 60 minutes of football and 90 minutes of the refs.

  106. “Losing to your rivals when you’re up 21-7 at halftime, and you’re behind enemy lines, and you can’t get them off the field,” said Terrell Suggs. “You can’t say the refs took one. We have to take a long look at ourselves.”

    REPEAT: “You can’t say the refs took one.”

    Enough said

  107. yeah…. TJ Housch drop had nothing to do with the refs…
    Big Ben fumble was good for Ravens as everyone thought it was incomplete including the announcer originally…
    Flacco interception to Ryan Clark had nothing to do with refs…

    and Lewis had the brains to complain it was too tough on his defense to try and recover from 2 TD turnovers… but the Steeler defense did it.

    Should be interesting for the JETS game. Please let it be a different referee crew !!

  108. “The holding call on Baltimore on the Ravens’ apparent punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter was also questionable.”

    It was clear as day. Watch the replay from the crowd’s angle (also the official who called its angle).

    What the F is up with this site’s bloggers and their need to incite? You can point out about 20 instances in that game (or any game) where holding could have been called and it wasn’t.

    NBC pressuring you guys to get more page views? They realize page views don’t equal revenue, right?

  109. How come it’s never pointed out that when Roethlisberger fumbled and the Ravens scored that it was a clear hit to the head of a quarterback by Suggs… another no call for rougher the passer on Roethlisberger.

  110. @pooped

    Not only do I question Steeler fan football objectivity, but now you show a total lack of internet marketing knowledge – “NBC pressuring you guys to get more page views? They realize page views don’t equal revenue, right?”

    Hey you guys won, fair and square. Complaining about calls and the constant mention of stats are for losers. You have to overcome bad calls and we did not. But you all act so self righteous over this stuff, as though you all are the ‘only’ authority on these things. There is ample ‘objective’ opinion (neither Raven or Steeler) from many of the talking heads that will admit that some of these calls were marginal. Funny how if you are black and yellow it so much more clear cut.

    By the way, views to a website are very valuable in internet marketing and the amounts that can be charged advertisers. Do you think those little banner ads on the side of the page are free?

    I am sure they (PFT) put provocative statements on here on purpose (just to get views). It’s called keeping the advertisers happy!

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