The Los Angeles Chargers climbed back into the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, jumpstarted by a play that shouldn’t have counted.
Leading 13-0, it appeared the Steelers were about to roll the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. Then the Chargers hit a 46-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter, and suddenly there was life.
Only problem. It shouldn’t have counted.
According to a source, the NFL acknowledges that the play should have been blown dead on a clear false start penalty by right tackle Sam Tevi. Additionally, the NFL has not released a public statement on the matter.
In the video below, Tevi is well into his shuffle by the time Mike Pouncey snaps the ball back to Philip Rivers, leading to irate fans both in the stadium, at home and on social media.
Ultimately, the Chargers won 33-30, potentially swinging the AFC playoff picture. Los Angeles is now 9-3 and only a game back in the West, while the Steelers fell to 7-4-1 and lead the Ravens by a mere half-game in the North.
While the NFL hasn’t publicly commented, the league will do its standard procedure of grading officiating crews on each play. NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron and his staff not only grade calls made but also calls missed, a process that weighs heavily into which officials will work in the playoffs and Super Bowl.
Of course, that’s little solace to the Steelers and their fans, who might be looking at a different outcome and the chance at a first-round bye in the playoffs if that call was correctly made.