LOOK: Refs blow call near end of first half that ends up helping the Steelers
Hopefully the refs spent halftime studying up on the rulebook
The Steelers caught a lucky break at the end of the first half on Thursday when the officiating crew blew a call that ended up working out for Pittsburgh.
On a second-and-10 play from their own 41-yard line with under a minute left to play in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and hit Antonio Brown across the middle. After watching Brown make the catch, Titans defensive back Adoree' Jackson came up from behind and knocked the ball out of Brown's hands to force a fumble.
The good news for the Steelers though is that Martavis Bryant was quickly able to jump on the ball, which gave the Steelers possession at the Titans' 32-yard line with just 27 seconds left in the half.
Of course, the Steelers shouldn't have actually gotten the ball at the 32-yard line due to NFL rules that kick in after the two-minute warning in each half. According to the rulebook, the refs didn't enforce the fumble recovery correctly.
From the NFL rulebook:
"If any player fumbles after the two-minute warning in a half, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If recovered by any other offensive player, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble unless it is recovered behind the spot of the fumble. In that case, the ball is dead at the spot of recovery. Any defensive player may recover and/or advance any fumble at any time."
Basically, this means that the ball should have been taken back to the spot of Brown's fumble, which would've given the Steelers the ball at the Titans' 42-yard line, a full 10 yards back.
Instead, the Steelers were given the ball at the 32-yard line. The difference ended up being huge because the Steelers didn't gain any more yardage on the possession and ended up kicking a 50-yard field goal. If they had been given the ball at the 42-yard line, there's almost no way they would've even attempted a field goal since it would have been from 60 yards out and Heinz Field is a notorious Bermuda Triangle for NFL kickers.
The late field goal by the Steelers gave Pittsburgh a 16-7 lead going into the half.
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