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Tomlin Said He Understands “Helmet Flying Off Rule” Following Loss

There will be a lot of talk about the final Pittsburgh Steelers drive Thursday night in their 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and most of it will center around the reversal of the touchdown by running back Le’Veon Bell because his helmet flew off just before he broke the plain of the goal-line with the football after being hit by Ravens quarterback Jimmy Smith.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if the right call was made during his post game press conference.

“That is the call that they made,” said Tomlin. “I understand the rule that when a runner’s helmet comes off the play is over. The issue I had I was told on the field the touchdown was confirmed by multiple officials. Then they reviewed it. That is my issue from a mechanics standpoint. I understand the rule, when the helmet comes off the play is over.”

Bell, who was knocked out cold on the play, was hit helmet-to-helmet by Smith. There was no penalty called on Smith on the play because the officials deemed the play either being inside the tackle box, which runs tackle to tackle, or within three yards from the line of scrimmage.

Bell was indeed well outside of the tackle, and in fact, five or so yards outside of the hashmarks. We will have to see if there is more clarity on how far the tackle box extends outside of the tackles, but the basis of no flag being thrown on the play might be that the play happened within three yards of the line of scrimmage.

Needless to say, we will be talking about this play for a while.

This new helmet-to-helmet rule was just instituted this season and Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer was fined earlier in the season for hitting Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte with the crown of his helmet. On that play, however, Dwyer was a good 20 or so yards down the field.

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