Karmic Justice Prevailed After Chaos Of Blocked Field Goal

By Matthew Marczi

When it comes to the blocked field goal from the victory over the Green Bay Packers, the story has already been covered from just about every angle.

That the defense was able to hold the Packers to a field goal attempt in the first place from the five-yard line after Le’Veon Bell’s fumble helped put a cap on the damage. The blocked field goal by Steve McLendon was, of course, huge, as it effectively wiped out the turnover altogether—or at least it should have.

Ryan Clark’s recovery of the loose ball was a positive, obviously, as was his desire to attempt to create a return situation during a ‘big play opportunity, as Mike Tomlin might say. Given the situation, however, it was misguided to attempt to lateral the ball in the manner in which he did, to a player not ready to receive it.

It was unfortunate yet understandable that Ziggy Hood batted the loose ball forward to knock it out of bounds. He may not have even been aware of the illegal batting rule, though that doesn’t excuse the action.

Finally, it was a potentially game-changing blunder by the officials to not rule Clark as having possession, as it was clear that he did have possession, with his knee down on the turf and making a ‘football move’ by lateraling the ball. That is possession by any definition, but the officials missed it.

But that’s understandable. What’s less easy to understand is the nonsensical logic behind not making possession of the ball reviewable in this instance.

To its credit, the league more often than not makes the necessary rules adjustments during the offseason when obvious foolishness like this comes up, so I won’t be surprised if possession would be made reviewable next season. But it didn’t help the Steelers any this week.

While I’m not inclined to believe in the concept of karma, the human drama that unfolded after the Packers scored the go-ahead touchdown one play after their ill-gotten fortune would certainly be used as evidence of such by those who do believe.

The Steelers quickly marched down the field, beginning with a good kick return. Bell burst up the middle of the field for 25 yards on the first play and Matt Spaeth caught his first pass of the year in the end zone to put the Steelers back on top.

Then, on the Packers’ very next play, tight end Andrew Quarless ran into Matt Flynn as he was throwing the ball, making the ball flutter in the air, which allowed Cortez Allen to easily pick it off and return it for a touchdown.

A pair of baffling penalties committed by the Packers helped the Steelers score a touchdown and prevented the Packers from scoring one of their own at the end of the game. Karmic justice or not, it’s just nice when it works out that way.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • cp72

    Ryan Clark, in the league for over a decade, should have had a better grasp of the sitiation. You are up 10 points in the 4th quarter. Just secure the football. Could have easily cost us the game

  • 2443scott

    if would a could a should a ….everyone could see on replays and i am sure in the statium monitor as refs were talking that even they saw it but as always the refs screw up they can be 3 feet from a play and make a bad call and a ref 20 30 yards calls the play diff ….it makes it so hard to trust a ref when this happens over and over some times its a game that is lost or won on bad ref calls …and then you see how a ref has a certain bias to a team or player and his calls and flags are ment to help the other side some times you can watch a game and after 10 mintues you can see how the refs are for or against a certain team…they sway the out come with mintues to go in a game to help either a behind team or a team a few points a head win a game …everyone can say it was the rule how many times have you seen refs change a call or pick up a flag because they know it was wrong …games can be changed in one play by a refs call but the nfl will replay certain flags or calls and let them be looked at then they diss allow others so whats the point to even have it if you cant look at changes in procession ….i know some say its part of the game but if you can slow moe the play on a player down by contact to see if a knee or elbow was down at a split second and in that split second it also was a fumble at fast speed why do we have instand replay because if you slow it down even more i bet you would see ball coming lose most cases where you couldnt see it in a faster slow moe …there were refs all around that play not one them said he was down by contact and had procession of the ball so was this one those cases where this group refs were a green bay supporters …refs should be rotated alot more then they are and not allowed to be with same groupings ..any way great block kick guys

  • Betz Smiff

    The kick block team should be rewarded for their good play for blocking a kick by the rule being changed to award possession immediately upon the block being made whether or not the ball goes across the LOS. Then the defense can either allow the ball to lay where it is or try to pick it up and return it. The fact that the kicking team has any chance to benefit from their lousy play by picking the loose ball up and possibly running for a first down or TD is stupid.

  • Rick M

    What will happen to the refs who made the mistake? I trust they will be individually fined and there will be ‘later punishment’ after the season. While they may have made an honest mistake, that mistake cost the Steelers 7 points and those points may affect their tiebreaker playoff chances. I trust the league will announce the referees’ initial fines and later punishment either today or tomorrow.

  • Jones

    Holy wall of text, Batman! “as always the refs screw up” – really? Always? While this was infuriating, generally I see more good calls than bad during any given game. I’m as irritated with this as everyone else, but unfounded hyperbole won’t bring the right kind attention to issue.

    And “statium”? Really, dude?

  • cencalsteeler

    I actually, too, considered karma a role in that play. But, I would correlate it in a different manner. The Steelers now have a trump card in their back pocket in regards to the possible draft pick the NFL is considering taking away, no?

  • Steeler Goetz

    If you think about it, if Karma had anything to do with it, Karma was making sure that the Packers got their just rewards. This all started with Bell’s fumble at the 1 1/2 – 2 yard line. The refs blew the call by calling Bell down by contact. Replay showed that Bell fumbled the ball and that Tramon Williams clearly recovered it. Under the current replay rules, all the refs could do at that point was give the Packers the ball. The rules prohibit the refs from allowing anything that happened after the fumble recovery, which in this case was Tramon Williams falling into the end zone for what should have been a Packers TD. So, some could argue that the football Gods stepped in and dispensed some Karmic Justice to make sure the Packers scored after the Steelers’ goal line stand, blocked field goal, and non-existent clear recovery after the blocked FG. Thanks to those same football Gods, who didn’t interfere with the Steelers going on to win what was clearly the Steelers’ most entertaining game of the season.