It looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers had a berth in the NFL playoffs wrapped-up Sunday afternoon. After a win over the Cleveland Browns and losses by the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, all Pittsburgh needed was the San Diego Chargers to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs.
That appeared imminent when Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop lined up for the game-winning field goal at he end of regulation in a game that was tied at 24-24.
Surely, he wasn’t going to miss an easy (by NFL standards) 41-yard field goal, right?
After the miss, the Chargers went on to win in overtime, taking what would have been the Steelers’ spot.
Making matter worse for Steelers fans, the NFL released a statement on how they made an officiating error regarding the Chargers having too many men lined up on one side of the line to try and block the field goal:
With 0:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, Kansas City faced a fourth-and-12 from the San Diego 23. The Chiefs attempted a 41-yard field that was no good.
On the play, San Diego lined up with seven men on one side of the snapper. This should have been penalized as an illegal formation by the defense.
Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 (b) (1) of the NFL Rule Book (page 51) states that “No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap.”
The penalty for illegal formation by the defense is a loss of five yards. This is not subject to instant replay review. Had the penalty been assessed, it would have resulted in a fourth-and-seven from the San Diego 18 with 0:04 remaining, enabling the Chiefs to attempt a 36-yard field goal.
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