PITTSBURGH — Referee Tony Corrente acknowledged that he made contact with Chicago Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh as he was about to flag the defender for targeting, something that Marsh called “totally inappropriate” in his postgame remarks.
But Corrente said that contact had nothing to do with him deciding to throw a flag on Marsh.
“Keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year,” Corrente said to a pool reporter after the game. “With that said, I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them.”
Even though Corrente didn’t throw the flag until after he collided with Marsh, he said the flag was purely for what he perceived to be targeting.
“That had nothing to do with it,” Corrente said. “It was the taunting aspect.”
The play gave the Steelers a first down on a critical drive, and led to a Chris Boswell field goal. Pittsburgh eventually won the game by two points.