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An explanation of what went wrong at the end of the first half in Steelers vs. Washington

The NFL will never own up to their officials blowing key moments in games, but they did just that in Week 13.

NFL: DEC 22 Steelers at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their first loss of the 2020 regular season Monday, and the massive fan base is pointing fingers in every which way as to why.

Some point to the receivers dropping passes.

Others point to the inability to run the football.

There are plenty of other aspects of the 11-1 Steelers fans are disgusted with, but one thing everyone can agree upon is how the first half ended. When Alex Smith ran off the field with the football, and the officials essentially awarded Washington a timeout to get a football in play was about as head-scratching as they come.

So, what were the officials thinking? You’ll likely never hear from them, or the NFL, as to how they botched the sequence of events so bad, but Terry McAulay, long time head official in the NFL now turned rules analyst for Sunday Night Football, took to his Twitter account to help add clarity.

And when I say clarity, I mean to explain just how poorly the crew botched the end of the half. Take a look:

The key here is how it wasn’t the Steelers, the team who would benefit from removing the ball from the field of play, who did it. To the contrary, it was Smith who kept the ball and removed it from play.

After the game Smith said the move wasn’t intentional, but this is a bit of a stretch considering Smith is a veteran in the league and knows how these processes and procedures take place.

During Mike Tomlin’s press conference Tuesday he was asked about the sequence and his response was simple, “I knew they were wrong.”

Did this sequence end the game for the Steelers? No, they still blew a 14-0 lead at home, but it certainly changed the complexity of the game. Just another example of NFL officiating being too much of a factor in a game, one way or another.

This explanation won’t lessen the anger and vitriol from the Steelers’ fan base, but it at least will give them a justification for said anger.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football in Week 14.