Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas And The Turnover That Wasn’t

It’s virtually impossible to discuss anything during a week following a non-victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers unless it pertains directly to blaming the Steelers for not winning the game. Any topic that does not feature that message as its driving force tends to be met with somewhere between a smattering to a chorus of ‘who cares’.

But our goal is to cover every game from as many aspects as possible. This is the internet, so you actually get to pick and choose what you care about, and if there’s something you don’t care about, you don’t have to actually click on it and ask everybody else who among them cares about that information.

Yes, it may have come in a loss, but Antonio Brown reaching 10,000 career receiving yards is an impressive and historic milestone. You can bet your life that we’re going to talk about it. Ignoring it isn’t going to retroactively award the Steelers a victory.

I say that to preface what I’m about to write with the understanding that I know it’s not an excuse for the Steelers losing the game. They had plenty of opportunities both before and after it occurred. But the Cleveland Browns literally earned an extra possession that they should not have had.

About six minutes into the fourth quarter, the Steelers found themselves backed up on their own 11-yard line when Jordan Berry got off a thoroughly meager punt of what is officially credited as traveling 36 yards, and officially downed by Sean Davis.

In between the ball leaving the Aussie’s foot and being cradled in the excited hands of the Maryland safety was an unofficial touching of the ball by a Browns player when it ricocheted off the helmet of rookie running back Nick Chubb.

This was evident to the Steelers’ sideline, in front of which the incident occurred, and is the reason that Davis excitedly fielded the punt as it was continuing to bounce in the direction in which it was punted. But there were no officials around to observe it.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin challenged the ruling on the field of an illegal touch, but to no avail. There was no satisfying angle under which the league felt they could comfortably say there was indisputable evidence that the ball touched Chubb’s helmet, and so the call on the field stood.

It was even acknowledge that the touch likely happened, but they the standards of the review system for overturning a call on the field, it’s understandable why the ruling was not reversed. And it would not have been overturned had the ruling on the field been an illegal touch.

However, there is no accountability for me, so I’m free to say that the Steelers should have taken over at their own 47-yard line at that point. Would that have changed the game? Maybe? On the following drive, the Browns turned the ball over on downs at the Steelers’ 18, but then stripped James Conner of the ball, recovering and returning it down to the one and scoring on the next play to make it a one-score game.

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