Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden didn’t address the media in the wake of his team’s 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. But after the game, he shared his thoughts about being called offsides on a Packers field-goal attempt just before halftime, a penalty that changed the entire complexion of the game.
“I wasn’t offsides,” he tweeted, perhaps stating the obvious, at least in the eyes of Steelers fans.
A Quick Recap of What Transpired
The Packers had a fourth-and-10 at Pittsburgh’s 13-yard line with less than a minute to go in the first half when Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur sent placekicker Mason Crosby out to attempt a field goal. Both Joe Haden and Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick appeared to time the snap perfectly coming off the left edge, and both got past a Packers blocker virtually untouched. That allowed Fitzpatrick to block the attempt and scoop up the ball in stride before returning it for a 75-yard score.
But the touchdown was nullified by Haden’s offsides penalty. Instead of a 17-14 lead for the Steelers, the Pack got another chance to convert the field goal, and the ensuing 26-yarder gave Green Bay a 17-10 lead, one that they would never relinquish.
CBS Sports Rules Analyst Gene Steratore seems to agree with Haden’s reaction to what transpired, noting that “Unless the Steelers were lined up in the neutral zone, [Haden and Fitzpatrick] move simultaneously with the snap, which would mean no foul.”
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Mike Tomlin Demurs
After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hesitated to comment on the Joe Haden offsides call, at least in part because he didn’t want to incur a fine for criticizing the officials.
“You hear things about what was said on television and all of that,” Tomlin told the media. “I didn’t have the line of scrimmage, so I’d just be speculating and giving you some hearsay.”
As for how much the flag impacted the outcome of the game, Tomlin said, “That’s obvious…. That’s a [ten] point swing.”
It’s also obvious that the Steelers never came close to overcoming that swing. In fact, after authoring a 75-yard scoring drive on the game’s opening possession—one capped off by a 45-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Diontae Johnson—the Steelers added just 219 yards of offense the rest of the way. That was hardly enough to overcome the 379 yards of offense produced by Green Bay, which included two touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Next Up for the Steelers
Now all Pittsburgh can do is get back to work to try to get back in the AFC North race. That won’t be easy, as the Steelers are already two games back of the three other teams in the division, with a home game against the Denver Broncos (3-1) scheduled for Sunday Oct. 10 at 1 pm ET. Denver suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling 23-7 to the Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Empower Field at Mile High.
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