If you're a Steelers fan, you're likely quite happy with the 11-10 win over the Chargers. If you're a Chargers fan, you're likely pretty bummed that San Diego's defense buckled in the final minutes. And if you're someone can name your local bookie, and you had the Steelers -4.5 points, you're likely looking to hunt down referee Scott Green right now.
The Steelers defense had one of its typical dominating games: they held the Chargers to 213 yards, James Harrison forced a safety with a sack and Phillip Rivers was pressured into two crucial interceptions. All of that was just enough because the Steelers offense, while effective, kept shooting itself in the foot. But in the final minutes, Pittsburgh drove down the field to set up a Jeff Reed game-winning field goal.
That's what happened in the game, and we'll go into in more detail over the next couple of days. But what really mattered to anyone who had some money on the game happened in the final five seconds. After a lateral on the kick return turned into nothing good for San Diego, the Chargers had the ball at their own 21 needing a miracle. Gamblers who had bet on the Steelers (-4.5) were also in need of a divine intervention.Knowing that Philip Rivers couldn't heave a ball 80+ yards, Rivers instead dumped off the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson just a couple of yards downfield. LT then lateraled the ball to Chris Chambers, who tried to toss a second lateral to Marcus McNeil/Philip Rivers (hey it was desperation time). Troy Polamalu saw that lateral coming from 10 yards away, flew up to knock the ball away, then scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown. The Chargers may not have gotten their miracle, but many gamblers (and fantasy football players) had sure gotten there prayers answered.
If you had the Steelers, you had several minutes to celebrate the 17-10 win. But as the two teams started to shake hands at midfield, the replay assistant buzzed down asking to check the laterals. After four minutes of everyone standing around for a game that was already over, Green announced that there was an illegal forward pass on Tomlinson's lateral to Chambers, which killed the play then and there. But CBS' Jim Nantz misheard Green, and said that the game ended with the Steelers winning 17-10. Gamblers who had the Steelers were still celebrating.
But then as the two teams went out for a second set of handshakes, just as some gamblers were likely trying to collect their winnings at the sports books in Las Vegas, Nantz caught his error and announced that since the play was an illegal forward pass, the play ended at that point.
How Green was able to determine that Tomlinson's lateral was a forward pass from the angles CBS showed would be shocking--the replays looked very inconclusive. Maybe he made the right call, but it was sure hard to tell. But that's no consolation to anyone who had laid money on the Steelers.
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But hey, we did get the first 11-10 game in NFL history. And if you lost a couple of hundred dollars or your fantasy football game because of the reversal, you probably don't care at all.
Steelers 11, Chargers 10: Steelers Fans Are Happy, Gamblers Are Pissed originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 16 Nov 2008 20:37:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.