Steelers Throwback Thursday: Missed false start costs Steelers a Sunday Night victory | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Turning Points: Not playing until there is a whistle
NBC Sunday Night Football

Steel City Underground presents "Steelers Throwback Thursday" featuring plays from recent seasons which you may have forgotten about! Now we're "bringing them back!"

If you thought missed or bad penalties only plagued the Steelers recently, we don’t have to go back very far to see that hasn’t always been the case.

Leading into this Sunday’s NBC presentation of Sunday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers, I’m reminded of another time when the referees on the field dearly cost the Steelers what could’ve been a win.

The situation surriounding this game changed course before it ever kicked off: that's because the initially scheduled 1pm kickoff, was moved to primetime for Sunday Night Football, which benefited a West Coast club, the Chargers, traveling to Heinz Field.

But that’s not the only thing the Chargers benefited from, as the officiating crew made a colossal blunder late in the first quarter. The Steelers were rolling smoothly, getting out to a 13-0 in the first quarter when disaster first struck in terms of missed calls by the officiating crew.

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?!

As you watch the clip, I’m not even sure how anyone can justify a different result here. It was 1st-and-10 from Pittsburgh’s 46-yard line when their right tackle, Sam Tevi, erroneously jumps before the snap. His movement threw off the Steelers defense, who were obviously out of sync, while the Chargers (as a smart team should do) continue playing for a whistle.

The whistle, nor the flag, ever came. The play is not reviewable, and LA’s seven points from this play stood.

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 the defense for not playing until there was a whistle.)

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.

What a difference those precious seven points made!!

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