PITTSBURGH — Nobody was happy with how the refs called the Steelers’ loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, only one person lashed out at them publicly. That would be wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who shredded the officials and even said they had money on the game. In a display that will likely earn Johnson a fine in his mail shortly, Johnson ripped the officials, stating they should be fined, and even said they outright cost Pittsburgh the game.
“I don’t care what nobody say, they cost us the game,” Johnson said. “We gotta make plays, but that doesn’t define us. They wanted them to win. Everything they were calling, it was all in their favor. All the calls, it is what it is.”
According to Johnson, this is the same crew that the Steelers and Mike Tomlin had come out to Latrobe during training camp. But from the offsides call to the roughing the passer calls, Diontae Johnson ripped the officials on those calls and even more on how they managed the calls throughout the game.
“I didn’t like the refs today,” Johnson said. “They must’ve gotten paid good today or something. That field goal it hurt us coming into the half. Like, we would’ve been tied. They got the ball back and then we could score. Who knows? They were calling some stupid stuff. They should get fined for making bad calls. That’s how pissed I am because it cost us the game.”
Former vice president of officiating of the NFL and current rules analyst at FOX Sports, Mike Pereira, clarified that the officials botched the offsides penalty on Steelers guard Isaac Seumalo on the field goal at the end of the first half.
“In Pittsburgh, offside on the offensive guard? Officials are told to call that if a lineman has his head in the neutral zone on the short yardage push plays, not on field goal attempts,” Pereira wrote on X.
Seumalo is not blaming the referees, and the other players will not, either. But Johnson’s tirade is an emotional feeling from the room after a vastly frustrating game that saw promising signs dissipate into thin air.