The funny thing about questions is that people answer them. Almost any time we write about something that a player or a coach has said, it is the case that it was their response to a question that they were asked during an interview. Something I’d just like people to do a better job keeping in mind.
Cornerback Joe Haden did take the time to jump on Twitter after Sunday evening’s game to make it clear that he believed he was onside when the Pittsburgh Steelers recorded a blocked field goal, which Minkah Fitzpatrick returned for a touchdown, but his comments on the subject since then have come from questions being asked during interviews, which we present below.
“We didn’t really get any explanation”, he told reporters yesterday when asked if they’d received one from the officials. “Well, the explanation that we got was, a lot of people said that we weren’t offsides. The ball moved, and me and Minkah, we were timing that thing up, so as soon as there was a flinch of the ball, we got off it. I felt like it was a really good get-off, and he was able to block the ball”.
During the broadcast, Tony Romo kept saying that there’s basically no way two players could get free the way Haden and Fitzpatrick did without being offside. I don’t know if Haden was commenting on that, if he’s heard it, but he did speak to that impression.
“Once you get the off like that, sometimes two people coming in that clean, referees sometimes just throw it”, he said. “I mean, it’s happened to us against the Titans. We’ve had probably two, three blocks since I’ve been here that’s just really good get-offs. Once everybody gets up on the ball so good sometimes the referees throw the flag. It’s unfortunate, though”.
The Steelers did have a blocked field goal by T.J. Watt against the Titans during Haden’s first season here in 2017. L.J. Fort also blocked a field goal against the New Orleans Saints in 2018. For some reason it doesn’t appear to be properly credited by Pro Football Focus, but Watt also blocked a potential game-winning field goal at the end of overtime against the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 opener as well. Cameron Heyward had a blocked extra point against the New England Patriots in 2019. Artie Burns blocked a game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018, but he was flagged for being offsides. The Chargers proceeded to kick the game-winner a play later.
That one play was a 10-point swing in a game in which the Steelers lost by 10 points, but Haden understands it’s time to move on. It’s not like the league is going to replay the second half.
“It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. I wish that it wasn’t called. But we’re just gonna keep executing, and hopefully next time” get the right call. “You can see how it looks like you got such a good jump on the ball that sometimes—as I said before, it happened to us in Tennessee. This is our third time since I’ve been here”.