BOSTON (CBS) — One controversy is never enough for opponents of the New England Patriots.
Mike Tomlin wasn’t happy that he was hearing the Patriots’ radio broadcast in his headset when trying to talk to his coaches throughout the first half, but that wasn’t all the Steelers were complaining about Thursday night.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is crying foul that the Patriots defensive line shifted during his snap count prior to a third-and-goal play on the 1-yard line, causing left tackle Kelvin Beachum to jump and get flagged for a false start.
Roethlisberger protested heavily on the field, unhappy with the New England defensive line, and then aired it out following the game.
“In my years of playing, a defensive guy can’t bark stuff or move in the middle of a cadence,” Roethlisberger said. “I was arguing the fact that he shifted in the middle of a cadence and I thought that there was a rule against it. Maybe there’s not – maybe it’s a written rule – I don’t really know. So, that’s what I was upset about.
“They do that. We saw it on film that the Patriots do that,” he said. “They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line knowing that it’s an itchy trigger-finger type of down.”
Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster wasn’t one for excuses though.
“That is something they do, it’s legal as long as they don’t cross the line of scrimmage,” he said. “They shift, in a situation like that where it is load, they are at home. We are on the silent count, that’s a football thing.”
The Steelers went from being on the New England 1-yard line to the 5-yard line, and had to settle for a field goal after a DeAngelo Williams run went nowhere, cutting New England’s lead to 21-14 with 11:39 to go in the game.
“That close to the goal line we got to get in. It wasn’t the snap count, we knew they shifted,” said Foster. “We just have to be on point, on the road there is no excuse for anything like that. We just got to be on point with that, and know what they are going to do.”
The headset issue was an NFL problem, with the league issuing a statement following the game saying it was caused “by a stadium power infrastructure issue, which was exacerbated by the inclement weather.”
Big Ben’s claim sounds a lot more like sour grapes after a tough night on the field for the Pittsburgh offense, especially with his own lineman giving the New England defense credit.
“Kudos for them for thinking of that and making it happen in that situation,” Foster told USA Today. “I can’t be mad. That’s on us. We can’t false start.”