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Steratore: Refs Blow It on Dropped Steelers Touchdown



Steelers WR Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson before his team's game against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 2, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers nearly had a touchdown when Kenny Pickett found Diontae Johnson in the end zone on a post route. Johnson caught the ball twirling and took three steps, but when he hit the ground, the ball came out and was called incomplete. Mike Tomlin did not challenge it, but running back Najee Harris appeared to want Tomlin to challenge it. However, he never did, but CBS Sports rules analyst Gene Steratore said that the call was blown on the field.

According to Steratore, this should have been a touchdown because the Steelers receiver, Johnson, had his third foot down with full control of the ball. By that rule, the process on the ground should not have mattered. Thus, it should have been a touchdown for Johnson and the Steelers should be up 6-0, pending the extra point.

Instead, Pittsburgh would end up fumbling the football on a Jaylen Warren rushing attempt on the next play. Pittsburgh did not surrender any points to the Bengals offense, but it remained a tie game. On the next drive, they would end up driving down the field and scoring a field goal to go up 3-0 over the Bengals. Pittsburgh has a new-look offense under Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan.

“Just me in general, I’m a detailed guy,” Faulkner said. “That’s how I operate. That’s how I operated the running back room, so that’s how I’m operating anything that has to do with the offense or staff. To make sure we’re squeezing down, being tightening up, closing all the space so when we go into a game the guys can execute and play fast. That’s the focus, and I feel like I can bring somebody to the table in that regard.”

Faulkner understands the opportunity at hand, both for the team’s offense to right its play with a 6-4 start built it, and for his career. But he doesn’t exactly have time to wax rhapsodic about it. The Steelers made the change on Tuesday, and then got right back to practice on Wednesday as they prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals in a crucial AFC North game.