Jesse James: I thought it was a touchdown for sure

AP

It’s not every day that you get to hear Jesse James say he thinks he was robbed, but that’s just what we got after Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Steelers.

James was initially ruled to have scored a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter, but the catch was overturned after a replay review found that he didn’t maintain control of the ball after hitting the ground. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster called it a “b—- a—” call while James found other words to share his feeling that he thought it was a score.

“I’m sick about it. I’ll be thinking about this the rest of the night,” James said, via ESPN.com. “I had my knee down, turned up the field. Whether they consider that a football move or not is up to them to decide. I guess I don’t know a lot of things about football. I thought it was a touchdown for sure.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he won’t “cry over spilt milk” regarding a call that always leads to a fierce reaction no matter how often officials make it using the same criteria. That reaction hasn’t led to a change to the rule concerning a receiver’s need to “survive the ground” when scoring a touchdown, however, and the Steelers found themselves on the wrong side of the ruling this weekend.

83 responses to “Jesse James: I thought it was a touchdown for sure

  1. This is where it gets really sticky, at what point does the receiver become a runner?

    We all know that when the tip of the ball of a runner breaks the plane, it’s a touchdown.

    Once the receiver catches the ball and starts moving forward, is he not a runner and if not, at what point is he?

    It’s bad enough that the NFL somehow changed the rule to the mess we have today, where nobody is sure what a catch is, but they’ve taken it to another level by refusing to revisit the rule because they don’t want to admit they screwed up.

  2. A running back can brake the plain with the ball and drop it and its a touchdown. A receiver can catch the ball maintain control cross the plain with the ball and it moves a 1/16 of an inch and its not. The ground can cause a fumble?

  3. Whether it should be a catch or not is debatable, but it’s quite clear that, given the way that the rule is written and the game is officiated, it was not. Had that taken place at mid-field in the first quarter, the call would have been exactly the same, and no one would have complained, or even noticed…

  4. Ball hits ground. Ball moves. No catch……its been that way for ever. How big the moment was doesn’t change the rule.

  5. I realize the technicalities of the rulebook say it wasnt a catch. But in a case like that where the reciever is including a lunge over the goal line as he goes to the ground the play should end if he breaks the plane with the ball under control, not when he does subsequently hit the ground. Stop blaming the officials, they didnt mess up that call it was completely correct. But if you want to condemn the NFLs catch rule go right ahead, this play proves you have a point.

  6. Wow the Steeler’s were just recipients of the NFL pecking order from officials. The Steeler’s are # 2 behind New England. Clearly,the Steelers gets the calls against everyone else so no complaining about the officials. When you play ether one of these teams you have to beat them and the officials.

  7. .
    It was very similar to the “tuck rule” situation. Your naked eye is telling you one thing and the rule book is telling you the opposite. Based on the the rulebook (aka the law) both were officiated properly. Hate the rule, not the call.
    .

  8. The rule stinks We all know it stinks. But — I was rooting for the Steelers and it doesn’t change the fact that the officials got it right. Clearly, the ball came out of his hands and hit the ground. So — it was not a TD.
    The Steelers have no room to complain. They should have had a pick on Brady earlier in the drive, then they let Gronk run free for two long gains. Besides, anyone who saw their win in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks years ago knows they got about 5 or 6 outrageous calls in their favor to hand them that win.
    The Steelers have no one to blame for this loss but themselves.

  9. Why don’t these players know the rules?
    Ignorant head coach, that’s why. This rule had been in effect for a while now.
    It amazes me how us fans know the rules better than a lot of the players.

  10. The NFL catch rule has become an absolute joke over the last several years. Yes, there were several other things that led to this play being so critical and in the spot light – however none of that changes the fact that this was a touchdown, was ruled a touchdown on the field, and the Steelers clearly got hosed.

  11. Steelers pushed it and went for the win and it cost them. They had two chances to punch it in , OR GO FOR FG and force OT. They gambled as they do so many times on fourth down and going for two point conversions more then any team in league. As far as the catch, we can go round and round back to Dez in Dallas. Argue the NFL RULE INTERPRETATION!!! He didn’t complete the act of a catch to the ground.

  12. Steelers were being themselves talking plenty of trash . . . same old Steelers (celebrating before the game is over).

  13. Picture that play anywhere else on the field. The ball touches the ground. It’s not a catch.

    If he was a runner breaking the plane would have come into consideration. Not as a receiver.

  14. Less than a decade ago that was a TD. Now it’s not. You figure it out. One more reason not to watch the NFL. Pats deserved to lose based on giving up an 80 yard dump off pass. That said, spike the ball and kick the FG. The Steelers gave the game back to the Pats. they deserved to lose based on that alone.

  15. Another reason the NFL has become a joke, what’s a catch? Did you make a football move? Come on.

    If it looks like a catch it should be. Ruled on the field to be one. Slow motion and instant replay can manipulate anything it seems. How about investing more in your officials NFL to rely less on instant replay getting it “right”.

  16. Three things to take away…..

    1) The call was absolutely correct by the precise wording of the rule.
    2) The rule is awful but these types of plays are hard to officiate.
    3) The rule has been around for some time now and several teams have been affected. Now that it helped the Pats it surely will be changed.

  17. It does not matter if the knee touches down if the player hasn’t been touched by the opposing team…. why is that comment even being made?? He is still live at that time!!!
    & the ball crossing the plain ONLY matters if the player is a runner…. JJ was a RECEIVER on that play so he MUST maintain possession all the way THRU the the play including when he hits the ground….
    You’re all welcome for the RULE BOOK lesson!!!

  18. All comes down to the spread and Vegas. The Patriots didn’t cheat. The Steelers didn’t cheat. It all comes down to the odds makers in Vegas. Somewhere Roger Goddell is counting the $ going to the Caymans.

  19. How come Steeler fans don’t complain about Bryant holding off Gilmore with one hand on his touchdown? Should of been OPI. Don’t hear any complaints about that, or the picked up flags on their other passing TD.

  20. What is missed is this, per the rule. Bobbling ball had no bearing. He caught it, made a football move. He raised his arms higher after catching, extended arms and body. He pushes over plane. The need to “survive the ground” is N/A as he already is past the stage of what a catch is. He broke the plane AFTER MAKING CATCH. TD. Ground had zero to do with it at that point in time.

  21. That’s because it was. The Patsy’s get another one gift-wrapped & handed to them, yet again. Merry Christmas. See you in January.

  22. bigbluplates says:
    December 18, 2017 at 7:14 am
    The Steelers are the younger brother to the Patriots as the Patriots are the younger brother to The New York * FOOTBALL * Giants… Back in 2018 BIGBLUE !!

    ———————
    When you are finishing up a losing season and all you have going are a couple wins that are close to a decade old you are pretty much everyone’s little brother. #babyblue.

  23. touchdownelvis says:

    December 18, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Even if it hadn’t been ruled as a drop, I’m pretty sure that knee was down before the ball broke the plane.
    =====================

    People like this are allowed to vote, and their vote counts just as much as mine. That is the stuff of nightmares…

    Heres a news flash hoss, who gives a rip if his knee was down? He wasn’t touched by a defender, the knee is irrelevant to anything.

  24. Not to mention pass interference on the last play that was an interception. Rogers was interfered with. Refs were scared to throw another flag. Interestingly enough, would have been first down, but if you run………………..hardly any time left.

  25. fireroger says:
    December 18, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Pats deserved to lose based on giving up an 80 yard dump off pass. That said, spike the ball and kick the FG. The Steelers gave the game back to the Pats. they deserved to lose based on that alone.

    —————
    They left Gronk open or under single coverage a few times that game, twice in a row on the final drive. Whats up with that? Dont they learn? A dropped int was also costly. But also the Patriots Oline was not getting it done well enough for much of the game and the defense kept giving the steelers easy underneath gains, and their tackling could have been a bit more aggressive, you never give Bell extra chances to break free. Both teams made some mistakes that give that ‘deserve to lose’. But in the end it was the Patriots that executed in those final spots where it counted so they deserved to win.

  26. The rule is the rule but that catch is a gray area where NY got it wrong. James completed the process of a catch when his knee hit down with the ball in his hands and then extended to break the goal line.

  27. steeelfann0155 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:11 am
    What is missed is this, per the rule. Bobbling ball had no bearing. He caught it, made a football move. He raised his arms higher after catching, extended arms and body. He pushes over plane. The need to “survive the ground” is N/A as he already is past the stage of what a catch is. He broke the plane AFTER MAKING CATCH. TD. Ground had zero to do with it at that point in time.
    =========================
    I would suggest paying closer attention to nmore NFL games because you flat out incorrect about surviving the ground. Breaking the plane no longer matters in the NFL today. You still need to survive the ground.

  28. How can anyone with a straight face claim that the Patriots get preferential calls from the league. The league HATES the Patriots. They reinvented the laws of physics to take away their QB for 1/4 of a season. If players don’t understand that you can’t allow the ball to move AT ALL when you’re a receiver, that’s on them and their coaches. If fans watch any amount of football you should know that’s not a catch and it hasn’t been for a long time.

    The rule was initially made for low passes that receivers need to slide or dive “to the ground” to catch but then one day around ten years ago some fool with more authority than sense decided that it applied to all catches in which the receiver falls down, even if that “going to the ground” is not while catching the ball, but afterwards. It’s dumb, but it’s also clear and has been for some time now. Players should have adjusted and the best ones have.

  29. I guess the 4th quarter domination stats took a major hit for the steelers last night. Falconesque catastrophic failure in the final third of the game.

  30. This play seems to be super controversial for people that don’t understand what a catch is. It must be frustration to watch football and not understand the rules. With some hard work and some determination anyone should be able to learn the rules of the game.

    That was a Burt Emanuel special.

  31. I saw it from the first replay that it wasn’t a touchdown. Under current rules it was no-brainer.
    More surprising was that Romo and Nantz declared it as a clear touchdown and were wondering what took so long to confirm it.

  32. when your body is moving sideline to sideline, you clearly possess the ball and extend goal line to goal line… IMO that is a football move and should suffice for a completion.

  33. metalup666 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:35 am
    I wonder what the call would have been if it had been Gronk?

    ———-
    Gronk knows the rules. The ball cannot touch the ground. Did you see his shoestring catch?

  34. The rules are pretty clear when it comes to diving catches. James made the mistake of trying to reach for the endzone when he needed to make sure he maintained control of the football throughout his fall. The rule is in there for a reason, without that, you’re making an arbitrary decision of whether or not it was or it wasn’t a catch, and then we’re back here arguing but with little definitive clarity through the rule book.

    All the talk of this or that other rule is meaningless, this rule had to be satisfied and it wasn’t. I understand the frustration to be that close to a potential win, but it just was a simple mistake that James made while trying to win the game.

  35. I keep hearing everyone talk about the rule and the ball moving. The ball can move while going to the ground so long as it does not touch the ground. As for those siting the ball hitting the ground, unless you have x-ray vision, im not sure how you saw it hit the ground because in every image, the ball is behind his forearm, and it appears as though his right hand is under the ball, even when its moving. So if that’s the case, and his right hand is under the ball it doesn’t matter if the ball is moving. Either way there was not conclusive evidence to show the ball hitting the ground, or showing the ground is what caused the ball to move. You can speculate that’s what caused the movement, but there is nothing conclusive

  36. Another first down says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:19 am
    They left Gronk open or under single coverage a few times that game, twice in a row on the final drive. Whats up with that? Dont they learn? A dropped int was also costly. But also the Patriots Oline was not getting it done well enough for much of the game and the defense kept giving the steelers easy underneath gains, and their tackling could have been a bit more aggressive, you never give Bell extra chances to break free. Both teams made some mistakes that give that ‘deserve to lose’. But in the end it was the Patriots that executed in those final spots where it counted so they deserved to win.
    =======================
    No doubt. I’m just saying giving up a 70 yards pass with < 1 minute to go is pretty inexcusable. All things being equal that put the Steelers in a position to tie the game. Let alone win it. The bad decision by Ben completely masks that 70 yard gaff. Just sayin.

  37. That’s okay Jesse, the whole world (outside of NE fans) both thought and KNEW it was a touchdown throughout the history of Western Civilization.

    Just not against the Patriots.

    When you get a pivotal TD against NE, the officials turn into Shao Khan from Mortal Kombat in order to find anything POSSIBLE to wave off the score.

  38. p6one6 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:49 am
    The rules are pretty clear when it comes to diving catches. James made the mistake of trying to reach for the endzone when he needed to make sure he maintained control of the football throughout his fall
    ———

    He made no “mistake.”

    He secured the catch, went to the ground with a knee, was not contacted, crossed the plane with possession before the ball even moved. That has always been a touchdown and will revert right back to being one again next week.

    Just anything to help NE win.

  39. TheDPR says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:34 am
    How can anyone with a straight face claim that the Patriots get preferential calls from the league. The league HATES the Patriots. They reinvented the laws of physics to take away their QB for 1/4 of a season. If players don’t understand that you can’t allow the ball to move AT ALL when you’re a receiver, that’s on them and their coaches. If fans watch any amount of football you should know that’s not a catch and it hasn’t been for a long time.

    The rule was initially made for low passes that receivers need to slide or dive “to the ground” to catch but then one day around ten years ago some fool with more authority than sense decided that it applied to all catches in which the receiver falls down, even if that “going to the ground” is not while catching the ball, but afterwards. It’s dumb, but it’s also clear and has been for some time now. Players should have adjusted and the best ones have.
    ————-

    Sure. Plenty of us do.

    They got off easily with Spygate. And the same commissioner you faux martyrs SWEAR hates the Patriots burned the tapes and slapped them on the wrist.

    Goodell wasn’t even going to do anything about the deflated footballs, he works for the OTHER 31 owners of the league and it was THEY who pressured him to do something. Or did you forget this critical fact? The last thing that man wanted to do was punish anything related to New England.

    And for you to sit here and pull this, when we have seen the officials strip opposing teams of five OBVIOUS touchdowns (including three in the Bolts game alone, one overturned for an actual score) this year when NE was set to lose, is beyond laughable.

  40. Another first down says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:11 am
    bigbluplates says:
    December 18, 2017 at 7:14 am
    The Steelers are the younger brother to the Patriots as the Patriots are the younger brother to The New York * FOOTBALL * Giants… Back in 2018 BIGBLUE !!

    ———————
    When you are finishing up a losing season and all you have going are a couple wins that are close to a decade old you are pretty much everyone’s little brother. #babyblue.
    ————-

    Six years is not a decade.

    And they’re not tainted, unlike EVERYTHING New England has done in the past 16 years.

    You wanna try the “you can’t take it away from us” tack?

    18-1.

    Giants still own you.

  41. Patriots fans love trying to dredge up some borderline call, or something that isn’t even remotely in the same ballpark as the plays in question where the officials slant games for them, as if attempting to point out these minor, insignificant calls/non-calls earlier in the game is going to negate the fact that we continue to watch the officials fix games for them every other week.

  42. One issue that isn’t getting discussed is the time it took to review the play. It was easily 4-5 minutes. If a call takes that long than there isn’t enough evidence in replay to overturn the call on the field. I believe the original rules of replay review was that the ref (at the stadium) got 60 or 90 seconds to review the call. If they couldn’t determine if the call was wrong in that time frame then the call should stand. It makes me wonder how much time the league office now has with reviewing calls. Is it under the same standard?

    Again, this goes to replay decisions being made the opaque back office of the NFL offices one of the big issues with the lack of transparency – you have the replay issues, the randomness of suspensions for on field hits, randomness under rule 46, etc.

  43. Two feet down, since a knee=2 feet, makes a football move by trying to extend the ball over the goal line. But the rule says incomplete. What everyone is really saying, again, is that the rule sucks.

  44. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Sure. Plenty of us do.

    They got off easily with Spygate. And the same commissioner you faux martyrs SWEAR hates the Patriots burned the tapes and slapped them on the wrist.

    Goodell wasn’t even going to do anything about the deflated footballs, he works for the OTHER 31 owners of the league and it was THEY who pressured him to do something. Or did you forget this critical fact? The last thing that man wanted to do was punish anything related to New England.

    And for you to sit here and pull this, when we have seen the officials strip opposing teams of five OBVIOUS touchdowns (including three in the Bolts game alone, one overturned for an actual score) this year when NE was set to lose, is beyond laughable.
    ================
    Wow. Sore loser much?

    Got off easy on Spygate. LOL Based on what? Unprecedented discipline based on where the camera was located? Give me a break already.

    Have we been able to figure out how the locker room temperature varies by 5 degrees based on what gauge is being used yet? I suspect not. LOL But yeah let’s double down on it. Deflategate was Spygate Part 2. Spygate was FAR from a slap on thew wrist. No matter how you want to spin it otherwise.

    Kick the FG. It’s really that simple. The refs didn’t make Ben throw the Int. Just sayin.

  45. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 9:24 am
    Patriots fans love trying to dredge up some borderline call, or something that isn’t even remotely in the same ballpark as the plays in question where the officials slant games for them, as if attempting to point out these minor, insignificant calls/non-calls earlier in the game is going to negate the fact that we continue to watch the officials fix games for them every other week.
    ====================
    Seahawks and Cardinals say Hi.

  46. If you are “going to the ground” a “football move” would be to stop going to the ground and get control of your body and reverse the momentum, a lunge does not do that. It is so simple, what is wrong with the people who don’t get it? It is a good rule, you need to control the ball and your body to “establish possession”, what’s next “he touched the ball, that’s a catch”

  47. Great screenshot. Now show the one where he is laying on the football with about half a pinkie under the it.

    “If you don’t want them to call it a fumble, then don’t drop the ball.” _ John Madden

    Not a fumble here, but this Madden line still cuts to the chase.

  48. It should have been a TD. But the reason it wasn’t a TD didn’t have anything to do with the Pats or with the refs trying to favor the Pats. This goes back to Calvin Johnson and the maddening, nitpicking rules adopted in the NFL. Those of us who opposed instant replay in the first place were afraid this would happen. Has the ability to microscopically examine the placement of every fingernail in during every nanosecond of a play really helped make the game more exciting for fans? Has it really imploved the level of competition?

    It’s true the Competition Committee, not the commissioner, sets the rules. But so many of them–and there are so many–have Goodell’s personality: the flavor of a PR guy who has to legislate infinitessimal details to the point that the action is secondary to the officiating. Yes, Jesse James was robbed. So was Calvin Johnson. At some point, nitpicking rules rob every team and every fan. The league needs to loosen up.

  49. “A receiver can catch the ball maintain control cross the plain with the ball and it moves a 1/16 of an inch and its not.”

    The plane of the goal-line has nothing whatsoever to do with that call. The issue is that it was not a catch, because the NFL rules specify that when a receiver goes to the ground in the process of making a catch, as James did, control of the ball must survive his contact with the ground, which it did not. The ball clearly a) moved and b) touched the ground when he fell. Therefore, it was not a catch.

    It’s never a catch. Not in the NFL, not for at least the last seven years. The timing makes it a huge play, and therefore people are emotional about it, but the call itself was not noteworthy in any way.

  50. @Mr Wright
    Blind hatred of a team Is never healthy. I am a NE sports fan and have always hated the Yankees, they owned the Sox in my early childhood and won many titles. But it was a Ravens / Steeers hatted with respect. I respected the Yankees. There is a word for what you’re searching for inside you, jealousy. It’s a bad thing man, move on from it.

    ‘Got off easy with spygate’
    Largest coach and team done in the history of the game us the loss of a 1st rd pick. Then they suspend the star, MVP caliber QB for 1/4 of the season. And steal another 1st rd and 4th rd draft pick for science bro.

    Yet you claim, with a straight face that the league, and Goodell, give the Pats preferential treatment, haha. It’s beyond laughable.

  51. New England was very fortunate this time Jesse James wasn’t credited the Td. Steeler’s aren’t going nowhere, they’ll be around for Part 2 if New England makes it that far.

  52. lol at the avalanche of snowflakes whining because they don’t understand the NFL rule book.

    You millennials are terrible. Why should the NFL change the rule they’ve called the same way forever just because it helped the Patriots?

  53. Roger Goodell and his reckless rules changing every year is ruining football. Just like Calvin Johnson in 2010 and Dez Bryant a couple of years ago..it was a catch. Jesse James broke the plane with possession before his elbow hit the ground. That’s a TD everywhere except in Roger Goodel’s screwy football league. TD Steelers…home field to the Steelers. Change the rule back immediately Idiot Commish!!!

  54. I’m a Cowboy fan. I hate the Steelers. They should have won the game. It was an outstanding catch

    ————-

    Wasn’t a catch. If he had caught the ball and secured it, it would have been. But he decided to lunge and he lost it. Bad decision. Don’t give James credit. He could have caught it and scored.

  55. steelcurtainn says:
    December 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm
    New England was very fortunate this time Jesse James wasn’t credited the Td. Steeler’s aren’t going nowhere, they’ll be around for Part 2 if New England makes it that far.
    ==================
    Technically there would have been around 30 secs left on the clock.

    Steelers better hope AB is a fast healer or wishing for the Pats again might be completely moot.

  56. All these people who watch football who obviously don’t get the rules. Once a runner crosses the plane it is a touchdown and they can drop the ball. A receiver on the other hand needs to complete the process of a catch before it can establish themselves as a runner which means they have to maintain possession all the way to the ground regardless of whether they cross the plane or not. Once possession is established they are then classified as a runner and a TD can be awarded. In this case crossing the plane is not relevant as he never established himself as a runner. The rule was interpreted correctly like it or not.

  57. A team that wins five games by three or fewer points needs to stop whining about the refs. If you don’t want one call to determine the outcome, get Sad Ben to put up some more points instead of throwing those signature picks in the end zone.

  58. 6superbowls says:
    December 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Patriots should be 8-6, but with the help of VP of Officiating Al Riveron, they are 11-3. #Fact.
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    Got it. Hey, I do have a question though. How come the big bad Steelers couldn’t win comfortably at home? Why would it come down to the last 30 seconds against this supposedly mediocre NE team?

  59. He caught the ball and went to the knee UNTOUCHED and rolled over with possession into the end zone.

    Stop trying to sound smart. You’re the one who doesn’t know the rules. Refs always bend the rules for NE.

    Period.

  60. walker1191 says:
    December 19, 2017 at 9:01 am
    6superbowls says:
    December 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Patriots should be 8-6, but with the help of VP of Officiating Al Riveron, they are 11-3. #Fact.
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    Got it. Hey, I do have a question though. How come the big bad Steelers couldn’t win comfortably at home? Why would it come down to the last 30 seconds against this supposedly mediocre NE team?
    ———

    R-E-F-S.

    It’s not that complicated.

    2 penalties for 4 yards?

    No PI on the final play?

    Bogus overturn of the GW TD?

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