CBS rules analyst says 2 crucial plays from Steelers-Bengals carry important NFL officiating lessons

According to at least one former NFL referee, two important officiating lessons could possibly be discovered from key moments throughout the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 23-20 extra time win Sunday in Cincinnati.

During his weekly WDVE radio hit Tuesday morning, retired NFL referee turned CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore (Washington, Pa.) stated one controversial name could have been prevented by higher positioning from one of many on-field officers.

The play in query was receiver Ja’Marr Chase’s close to landing alongside the Steelers sideline with 2:49 left within the recreation.

As you’ll be able to see within the hyperlink, the play was dominated a completion, however simply wanting scoring a landing although Chase’s proper foot clearly touched the aim line. Surprisingly, down 20-14 on the time, the Bengals teaching employees by no means challenged the play to see if Chase managed to interrupt the airplane of the tip zone as soon as he had possession of the ball.

The Steelers then had a aim line stand and compelled the Bengals to present them the ball again on downs, earlier than the Bengals ultimately tied the sport with a landing on the following sequence anyway.

Most of us who noticed the play in gradual movement thought Chase scored and that the play had an opportunity to be overturned, however Bengals head coach Zac Taylor by no means challenged the decision.

“That’s the toughest place for us to see in the whole discipline is that spot,” Taylor stated after the sport. “I did not assume there was an opportunity there was a landing there initially. So we received on the ball to run it shortly. It’s laborious with all of the craziness in that second, all of the communication to get that, ‘Stop, cease, let’s consider this.’”

Chase himself did not assume he received in, so he by no means lobbied for a evaluation. Had he finished so, perhaps the whole loopy sequence of a missed additional level or TJ Watt’s damage, or the wild extra time by no means occurred.

Or, maybe if the official close to the pylon was in a greater place, a unique name is made on the sector.

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“The younger official who was on the aim line took a step that you’d usually take all through the sport. When a play is coming at you, you step again and retreat. You permit the play to cross you, and you then begin to officiate in entrance of that participant,” defined Steratore. “But if you find yourself on the aim line, you do not depart the aim line. You simply proceed to again up. You are normally telling digicam guys behind you, ‘I want extra depth simply in case it’s a pylon play.’ But you by no means hand over the aim line. It’s like a defend. But he stepped away. I imagine that refined one step created an angle for him the place he could not course of it shortly sufficient, and (he) did it incorrectly.”

The official Steratore referenced is Anthony Flemming. According to Pro Football Reference, that is his third NFL season. His first two have been spent as a facet decide. He is now a discipline decide. So that was his first NFL recreation in that position.

As far as why the Bengals did not problem, past the specter of dropping a timeout, Steratore speculated that maybe the Bengals have been nervous if the play was reviewed — both through his personal problem or if the sales space determined to provoke a evaluation — that Chase’s catch could have been deemed incomplete.

The different play Steratore mentioned was Dionate Johnson’s superb one-handed, toe-tap catch in extra time.

That play was initially dominated incomplete and later overturned. Steratore suggested that NFL officers could also be sensible to lean in the direction of the presumption that NFL gamers do the unlikely on plays equivalent to Johnson’s. Then be overturned by replay if needed, as a substitute of presuming that the play couldn’t have been made.

“We used to inform the younger officers, ‘When you have been (officiating) faculty, and also you thought, is it a catch or is not it on the sideline, numerous occasions it wasn’t a catch. When you get to the NFL, and you’re indecisive, go along with … they made the play,” Steratore stated. “Because they do loopy issues, and they’re superb athletes. When unsure give it to him, (as a result of) he most likely did it.”

Johnson definitely did a loopy factor on that catch.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review employees author. You can contact Tim at or through Twitter. All tweets could possibly be reposted. All emails are topic to publication except specified in any other case.

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