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Monday, December 23, 2013
Tomlin: Refs 'screwed up' after blocked FG

By Scott Brown

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- A 38-31 win that kept the Pittsburgh Steelers in playoff contention didn't soften coach Mike Tomlin's outlook on the call after a blocked field goal that set up a Green Bay Packers touchdown.

"They screwed it up in my opinion," Tomlin said Sunday night after the Steelers improved to 7-8.

The Packers were awarded the ball at the Steelers' 2-yard line after Ziggy Hood batted a loose ball out of bounds. Hood's play came after Ryan Clark tried a lateral to William Gay following Steve McLendon's block of a 23-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby and ball ended up on the Lambeau Field turf. 

The officials decided Clark never had possession of the ball and that Hood had illegally batted the ball since it went toward the Steelers' end zone. Eddie Lacy scored on a 2-yard run the play after the Packers were given the ball back.

"We ruled that (Hood) batted the ball forward, it was during the loose ball part of the line of scrimmage play and the only place we can enforce that foul is from the previous spot," referee Carl Cheffers said.

Tomlin contended that Clark had possession of the ball before trying to lateral it to Gay. What incensed Tomlin just as much as the call on the field: the fact that he was not allowed to challenge it.

When asked why there is no mechanism in place to review such a call, he said tersely, "Don't ask me."

Clark said he tried to lateral the ball to Gay because he had turned an ankle earlier in the quarter and wanted to give the Steelers a chance for a long return with bigger Packers' personnel on the field.

Tomlin did not have a problem with what Clark did after the Steelers had made a spirited stand following a lost fumble by running back Le'Veon Bell

"Those guys are fighting and clawing and trying to win," the seventh-year coach said. "That's one of the purest opportunities of scoring the football because of the non-tacklers on the other unit. I'm not going to change my stance on it in a couple of weeks."

What defensive end Brett Keisel called "maybe the craziest thing I've seen in 12 years of football" seemed to galvanize the Steelers.

They scored the next two touchdowns, including one on a 40-yard interception return by cornerback Cortez Allen.

"The thing you have to do is continue to play football, worry about what you can control," Clark said. "[The official] didn't have an opportunity to know if I had possession so he made the call that he saw and that's part of football. You would like for them to be able to review that but it's just part of the game. It's no big deal. We won."