RUSH: What, the Steelers? Oh. Let me tell you, you know, it’s a bogus rule, but the rule is the rule on that touchdown catch that was overruled. It’s silly, the contradictions. If that had been a running play, the moment that ball crossed the plane of the goal line, it’s a touchdown. But because it was a pass play, somehow now the rule is (thank you, Calvin Johnson) you have to survive the ground. You have to catch the ball and then when you hit the ground you have to maintain possession, no matter how many seconds have gone by after crossing the plane.
Jesse James, No. 81, tight end for the Steelers caught the pass untouched. He went to his knees. He was down. He had not been touched. He lunged over the goal line; the ball crosses the plane. As he touches the ground, the ball jostled a bit and they said, “No touchdown.” That is the rule, and it’s only in the NFL that’s not a touchdown. But, folks, that’s not where the Steelers lost that game, I’m sorry to tell you. The Steelers lost that game two separate times prior to that series. The first time the Steelers lost the game was when they were unable to stop Brady and Gronkowski from going 77 yards in 70 seconds.
Two 26-yard pass plays to Gronkowski, a 17-yard pass play to Gronkowski, and a five-yard running play for a touchdown, all inside less than a minute. Unable to stop this with three minutes left. Then they get the ball back — they’re still leading after this — and they go three-and-out. And I’m chatting with some people, and the minute they came up short on third down Juju Smith-Schuster was stopped a foot, foot-and-a-half short of first down. So they’re punting the ball with a little over two minutes left and I’m saying, “Game over.”
If they had just made a first down… But the real problem… The drive I just described exposed the basic problem Steelers have for those of you who care: They just don’t have a pass defense. They’d been playing zone coverage all game and decided to go man to man on that drive. And they put a stick, Sean Davis (I mean, 6’1″, 205) against Gronkowski (6’6″, 275) on single coverage. No double coverage and it was just man coverage.
The Steelers pass defense has been suspect the whole season. It’s been one of the big problems. You’ve got Shazier out. Shazier would have been on this guy. Shazier would have been on Gronkowski. Still, it was a royal screw job on the touchdown. I’m not trying to diminish that by any stretch, but it needn’t have been necessary had they just been able to make a first down. Three and out with 2-1/2 minutes left or whatever it was? So that’s the Steelers wrap-up.