But, the officials also missed an offensive pass interference call on the same drive that could’ve altered the outcome of this divisional matchup.
Looking at the game footage, you’ll notice Pittsburgh wide receiver Justin Hunter had a long block on Cincinnati cornerback Tony McRae. It’s tough to consider Hunter’s move here as incidental contact when he doesn’t seem to be attempting to run a route. Instead, he appears to be purposefully blocking McRae.
Even if we were to give Hunter the benefit of the doubt here, the other factor we have to consider is how the block continued after the ball was thrown.
The NFL rulebook defines pass interference as follows, “It is ... pass interference by the offense to block the defender beyond the line while the pass is in the air, if the block occurs in the vicinity of the player to whom the pass is thrown.”
NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron, thought the no-call was accurate. He says the penalty would have been invalid because “the receiver was not responsible for this contact.”
We beg to differ. A pass interference call would have been a 10-yard penalty against the Steelers and a replay of the down.
Instead, we see a long block against the Bengals cornerback, preventing McRae from having a chance at stopping Brown before he scored a game-winning touchdown to break the Bengals’ hearts once again.