Thoughts on Steelers' phantom first down

December, 21, 2010
12/21/10
6:30
PM ET
And now it's time for our (grudgingly) weekly update on poor officiating in AFC North games.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admitted this week his team was given a phantom first down against the New York Jets during a 9-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall on 1st-and-10. As I was sitting in the press box, I thought something was fishy as the group holding the sticks on the sideline and the officials didn't appear on the same page. Instead of taking time to straighten things out, the Jets were cheated by a yard.

Also, Steeler Nation has been e-mailing the division inbox all week about Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery holding Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a potential game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. I talked to Sanders after the game and the rookie believed Lowery grabbed the back of his jersey. It also looked that way from my view in the press box. But pass interference wasn't called, and it's time for Pittsburgh fans to move onto Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

So there is your (grudgingly) weekly update on bad calls in the AFC North. I think we are approaching two straight months of discussing poor officiating in the blog, despite the fact I'm trying not to make this a place to constantly whine about referees.

Bad calls are made every week in the NFL, and there is more than enough material to complain about with the performance of AFC North teams, players, coaches and management.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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