Analysis: Breaking down the fumble that wasn’t in Steelers-Browns tie |
Breakfast With Benz

Analysis: Breaking down the fumble that wasn’t in Steelers-Browns tie

Tim Benz

Of all the bounces that went the wrong way for the Pittsburgh Steelers en route to tying the Cleveland Browns, a bounce that allegedly never happened may have been the biggest.

Huh? Did that sentence even make sense?

Well, if you saw the game, you know it does, and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

With 8:52 left in the fourth quarter, Steelers punter Jordan Berry kicked a ball that bounced and was nabbed by safety Sean Davis at the Pittsburgh 47-yard line.

Off the bounce, the ball appeared to ricochet up and graze the helmet of Cleveland’s Nick Chubb. So it should’ve been called a fumble.

Instead, the officials ruled the ball down by contact. Replay upheld the decision. Physics, the reaction of the players and some visual evidence suggest otherwise.

The ball at least appeared to change rotation, if not direction entirely.

Davis is looking right at the ball. In the background, Antonio Callaway is beginning a reaction as if to point to Chubb to look out for the ball. And Chubb is appearing to flinch.

Now all that could — in theory — happen without the ball making contact with Chubb. However, all three reacted as if it did.

Yet the Browns kept possession, swung field position and eventually tied the game.

“I saw it hit the dude’s helmet. And I went to go get it,” Davis said. “The ball trajectory even changed. It went straight up in the air. And then No. 11 on the Browns (Callaway) even went to go recover it, too.”

James Washington says he was on the sideline with a clean look at the play.

“I was pretty close. I thought it hit,” the Steelers rookie receiver said. “I guess the refs saw otherwise.

“When I saw him (Callaway) look up at the ball, he knew it bounced off Chubb’s helmet. But it’s a little out of our control.”

If only there was video that was slightly more conclusive about how Chubb pulled his head back. And to the left.

Back. And to the left.

You know, like this.

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