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Official from Week 17 tries to explain unnecessary roughness penalty on Cam Heyward

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a call go against them, and it almost cost them the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame a lot in the Week 17 Sunday night win over the Baltimore Ravens. Of all they overcame, the most significant was a sequence in the second quarter.

Following Chris Boswell’s field goal in the waning minutes of the first half, Tyler Huntley and the Ravens offense moved the ball into the red-zone. On 3rd down the Steelers defense stood tall, and looked as if they forced another Justin Tucker field goal.

Then a penalty flag was thrown after a skirmish following the play.

For those who’ve watched plenty of Steelers vs. Ravens games, many times these penalties are off-setting dead ball fouls, and the game continues. It’s a chance for the referees to show they will flag players for misconduct, without having an immediate impact on the outcome.

That didn’t happen in this game.

Instead of the Steelers’ field goal block unit going on the field, the Ravens benefited from an official penalizing Steelers captain Cam Heyward a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. It gave the Ravens new life, and on the next play Huntley hit Isaiah Likely for a touchdown.

It was a 4-point swing, and until Kenny Pickett and the offense’s late-game heroics, it looked as if those points would be the deciding factor in the game. So, what happened which resulted in the flag being thrown? This is what referee Land Clark told a pool reporter after the game.

“Well, there was some pushing and shoving after the play,” referee Land Clark told a pool reporter after the game via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “No. 97 continued to push after the play, and that’s why it was called.”

In the locker room after the game, Heyward sang a different tune. Nonetheless, he didn’t run and hide from the play, instead focusing on getting his defense ready for the second half.

“I got pulled back down, and it looks like hit the ref,” Heyward said. “We were able to regroup at halftime. Swallowed my pride and just kept going.”

Take a look at the replay of the play in the video below:

With the Steelers finding a way to come back and win the game, this story will likely get brushed underneath the proverbial rug. But if the Ravens had found a way to win, it would have been a huge story within the Pittsburgh media.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in the 2022 regular season finale in Week 18.