Bengals fail to challenge possible game-tying TD catch, then lose to Steelers in OT

·4-min read

The Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers engaged in a truly wild football game on Sunday. It finished with the Bengals losing 23-20 in overtime, but it didn't have to end that way.

While quarterback Joe Burrow turned the ball over five times, and erasing any one of them could have changed the outcome of the game, it was the failure to challenge a late fourth-quarter goal line catch that may have cost them the win.

Here's how it went down. With 2:52 left in the game and on the Steelers 13-yard line, Burrow threw to Ja'Marr Chase on 2nd-and-10. Chase snagged the pass and his foot came down on the white line separating the end zone from the field. The referee called the pass complete, but just short of the goal. You can see him put the ball down at least a foot away from where Chase's foot actually landed, paying absolutely no attention to whether the ball actually broke the plane.

Now, if you were an NFL coach, would you challenge that? "Well, maybe the ball didn't actually break the plane," someone might say. And that's a good point. So here's a blurry close-up of the catch. Decide for yourself.

It's definitely fuzzy, but you can see Chase intentionally move the ball to his right so it can break the plane. Even if it didn't actually break the plane, isn't it worth a challenge? Down six with under three minutes left in the game, don't you think it's worth challenging that since it could win the Bengals the game?

Most people on Twitter thought it was.

Even Gene Steratore, former NFL referee and rules analyst for CBS Sports, thought it was nuts that Bengals head coach Zac Taylor didn't throw down the red challenge flag. On the broadcast, he said that it would have been a touchdown if it had been reviewed.

So why didn't Taylor challenge it? He said afterward that the Bengals initially didn't have a good angle to see whether the catch was indeed a touchdown.

Regardless, the Bengals did manage to score the game-tying touchdown with two seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the game stayed tied at 20 when the extra point was blocked, and they went on to lose in overtime. If they'd challenged that non-touchdown call and it was reversed, the extra point might not have been blocked and they wouldn't have even needed overtime.

But now the game is over, and the Bengals were on the losing end. All they can do is wonder what might have been, and hope it doesn't come back to haunt them at the end of the season.

Sep 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks between plays during the fourth quarter of a Week 1 NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks between plays during the fourth quarter of a Week 1 NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports