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The end of the Steelers‘ 24-16 win over the Bengals was so controversial on Sunday that the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, decided that he had to go on Twitter and explain exactly what happened on a fourth quarter play that was ruled a Bengals fumble.

If you missed the play, or haven’t had chance to talk to an irate Bengals fan over the past 24 hours, here’s what happened: On first-and-10 from the Steelers 39, Andy Dalton hit rookier receiver Tyler Boyd with a short 6-yard pass and that’s when the chaos started.

Boyd fumbled on the play, but his knee appeared to be down, which means the fumble wouldn’t count and it would be the Bengals’ ball. However, the Bengals didn’t get to keep the ball because the officials on the field ruled that it was a fumble.

The questionable call came with just 1:50 left in the game and the Bengals trailing 24-16.

After a review of the play, the officiating crew decided to stick with the ruling on the field, and that’s exactly what they should’ve done, according to Blandino.

The VP of refs didn’t say that the call was necessarily correct, but he did stand by his officiating crew, saying that they were right to stick with the call on the field.

In the video below, Blandino gives a detailed explanation of the play and why the refs didn’t overturn the call after reviewing it.

“We received a lot of questions about this play,” Blandino said. “Near the end of the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game, first play after the two minute warning. Ruling on the field was catch-fumble recovered by the defense.”

Blandino then went on to explain what he saw on the play.

“We’re looking at two things here: We’re looking first at whether this is a catch,” Blandino said. “Control with two feet, starts to turn upfield, tucks the ball away, we do have a catch. The second part we’re looking at is to see whether that right knee is down before the ball comes loose. You can see on the live shot, it’s not definitive. You can see the knee down, you can’t tell if the ball was loose based on this angle.”

When Blandino says “it’s not definitive,” that means that if Boyd would’ve been ruled down then that call would have also stuck after being reviewed.

“Remember, it has to be clear and obvious in order for us to overturn the ruling on the field,” Blandino said.

Blandino said that it looked like Boyd’s knee came down at the exact instant the ball came out and that the play was just too close to call.

“If it’s not clear and obvious that the call on the field is incorrect, then the call will stand,” Blandino said.

After the game, Boyd said that he was “definitely” down, the receiver also added that several officials on the Bengals sideline told him that he was down. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also said that an official on the sideline told him that Boyd was down.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that the official on the sideline said, it only matters what the official in the review booth says and he says it was a fumble. If anything, this just gives Bengals fans another reason to hate both the Steelers and the refs.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / NFL VP of officials stands by controversial fumble call in Bengals-Steelers game