First off, let me say I do not believe there is any sort of conspiracy at work in the NFL when it comes to officiating. Having said that, the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the wrong end of several huge no-calls by the officials in Sunday’s narrow loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The first big one was the missed roughing the passer on Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph on his interception. The league calls every little touch on quarterbacks this season so you would think two hands straight to the head might have drawn a flag. Instead, it gave Cleveland the football and they turned it into points.
Next up we have the two-point conversion attempt by the Steelers at the end of the game. Rudolph had just thrown a touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster. The team rushed back to the line and Rudolph threw a perfect pass to Chase Claypool. The Brown defender was hanging off of him and did not allow the catch but again, no flag. Another blown play that cost the Steelers points.
Finally we have the no-call on a hold late in the game. The Browns had been struggling to move the ball but knew they could salt it away with a first down. Then this happened.
We’re just gonna act like this didn’t happen. pic.twitter.com/bPWrFvapbn
— Curt Popejoy (@CurtPopejoySW) January 3, 2021
I don’t know how, with two officials so close to the play, a flag wasn’t thrown but this did allow the Browns to essentially end the game and make the playoffs. In the big picture, this game didn’t mean much to the Steelers and they will have a chance for payback in Pittsburgh against this same Browns team. But it is frustrating to see just how inept the officials were in a game so big.