Refs gift Packers the ball after Steelers 'illegal batting'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

We're going to be talking about the Steelers and Packers refs for a few days after a bizarre sequence resulted in the refs inexplicably handing the ball back to the Packers.

Green Bay attempted to kick a field goal, which was blocked by the Steelers, recovered by the Steelers, latereled by the Steelers, fumbled by the Steelers and then, according to the referees, illegally batted by the Steelers.

Naturally the result of that play was Touchdown Seahawks! Packers ball!

How, you might ask? Well, according to the refs, the Steelers illegally batting the ball means that the result of the play is no play and Green Bay retains possession with an automatic first down.

Immediately after that play, Eddie Lacy plunged into the end zone to give Green Bay a 21-17 lead. That the Packers would hand said lead right back to the Steelers is irrelevant.

Not irrelevant is the fact that Ryan Clark most certainly appeared to be down and have possession when he attempted to lateral the ball.

Naturally you'd think the officials would check that on replay ... but they couldn't since they initially ruled that Clark wasn't down when he pitched the ball.

Even to a neutral observer it felt like the refs handed the Packers a free possession on the goal line. And even if the Steelers win it's definitely going to be a focal point of discussion.

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