Heavily scrutinized to start the season, NFL officials missed a crucial call on Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back James Conner. It was in the second quarter of the Bengals’ Monday Night Football game, a pivotal time in the game.
Conner, after initially lining up in the shotgun with quarterback Mason Rudolph, cut up the field to secure the catch, dodging a few tackles for the first touchdown of the game. This opened the flood gates for Pittsburgh.
Zac Taylor noticed it and noted that the team couldn’t challenge it since it was a scoring play and should’ve been automatically reviewed.
“If they are down the field before the ball is thrown, then there’s an ineligible receiver downfield. On a touchdown, you can’t challenge whether it was OPI (offensive pass interference) down the field. So if they engage with a second-level defender, which they did… and they said that they missed it. That part is hard, because we can’t challenge that because it was a scoring play. I made that mistake in the preseason. So that part was frustrating,” Taylor said, according to Bengals.com.
Zac Taylor said he checked with the league office and it said they missed an OPI call on James Conner's TD on Monday.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 2, 2019
Here’s a look at the play. Conner is No. 30.
Here's a look at James Conner's 21-yard TD via NFL Next Gen. pic.twitter.com/u4R2IMQYhL— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 1, 2019
If the correct call was made, we can assume Pittsburgh would’ve settled for a field goal. Even if they end the half the same way, it’s a 6-3 ball game, which certainly impacts Taylor’s strategy and the mindset of both coaches.
The Steelers had ten unanswered points in the second quarter, and this play was a huge part of the game. Up until this point, the Bengals lacking defense had been stellar and were definitely in the driver’s seat of this game.
There’s really nothing to hope for. The team was absolutely outplayed in the second half and likely would’ve lost anyway. Let’s now go back to the 0-4 reality we rest on and hope we can get a Week 5 victory.