Could've. Would've. Should've. These words define those who fall short of their goals. Such is the case of this series, which will examine the ebbs and flows of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season and how specific individual plays may have shaped the year.
There were a number of plays we’d all want back from the Steelers 2018 season, as one change could’ve made as the difference in making the postseason. (And for those interested, you can visit US-Bookies.com to find out how to bet on AFC and NFC championship games.)
I can’t imagine there’s one that trumps this one: a blown call which led to the Chargers getting right back into a game that was getting out of hand early.
A week after the Steelers stumbled miserably in Denver, they would face another AFC West opponent in the Los Angeles Chargers. The game, initially scheduled for a 1pm kickoff, was moved to primetime for Sunday Night Football, which benefitted the West Coast club traveling to Heinz Field.
But that’s not the only thing they benefitted from, as the officiating crew made a colossal blunder late in the first quarter. It’s one thing to debate calls that are a subject of opinion. We’ll all complain about a holding call here or a pass interference call there, but in the case of this play, a blatant false start by Chargers LT Sam Tevi, the decision is obvious: did it or did it not happen?
And how did the zebras miss it?
The unfortunate side effect of Tevi jumping early is that the Chargers got to shotgun their play while half of the Steelers defense were still flat on their feet. That split-second of timing allowed LA WR Travis Benjamin to get around his defender, Steelers CB Mike Hilton, as QB Philip Rivers lobs a ball over the defense for a 46-yard touchdown completion.
Pittsburgh players stood in awe as the play unfolded, looking for a flag and not playing for a whistle. That much blame can be placed on them. However, no one can debate that the play should’ve been blown dead from the start.
Instead, it led to 7 points and closed a 13-0 Steelers lead to 13-7.
The Steelers would eventually lose on a Chargers field goal as time expired. The final score: 33-30.