PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steelers wide reciever Diontae Johnson called for the referees to be fined following Pittsburgh’s 20-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, a defeat in which quarterback Kenny Pickett left with a rib injury following a big hit.
“They were calling some stupid stuff,” Johnson said. “They should get fined for making terrible calls. That’s how (mad) I am because they cost us the game. I don’t care what nobody says, they cost us the game.
“(The referees) must’ve got paid good today or something,” he added. “(The referees) wanted (Jacksonville) to win. Everything was in their favor. They were getting every little call. But it is what it is.”
Johnson’s displeasure centered around roughing the passer calls — one that was made against Pittsburgh and another he believes the officials missed, resulting in Pickett’s injury.
In the first quarter, Pittsburgh’s Keanu Neal was called for roughing the passer on Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence during a series that ended with a Jags turnover.
Late in the first half, Pickett left with a rib injury after he was drilled by defensive end Adam Gotsis.
“Y’all are supposed to be protecting us,” Johnson said. “That’s our quarterback. He got slammed. He’s not allowed to slam anybody. It’s hard because you need your quarterback out there at the end of the day. We gotta roll with the next guy. That messes up the whole gameplan so now we gotta scramble to figure things out again.”
The Steelers were also upset with an offsides call at the end of the first half that wiped a field goal from the board.
Pittsburgh trailed 9-3 when Chris Boswell’s 55-yard field goal was called back after an offsides penalty to right guard Isaac Seumalo — officials deemed he was in the neutral zone when the ball was snapped. Boswell missed a 61-yard attempt after the penalty.
“I hadn’t seen that called in 17 years of standing on the sidelines,” Tomlin said. “Aligned offsides on a guard, on a field goal protection. … It didn’t matter what they said. I have never seen that.”
Seumalo, an eight-year veteran, agreed.
“I’m sure if you line up over the ball, it’s offsides, but I never heard about it, or heard it called,” Seumalo said. “I thought I lined up in the same spot I’ve been lining up for the past eight years.”
Following the game, referee Alan Eck said that Seumalo was lined up in the neutral zone.
“His head was over the back edge of the ball, so by rule that’s an offensive offside foul,” Eck said.
Mitch Trubisky threw for 139 yards in the second half, including a 22-yard touchdown to George Pickens late in the third quarter that brought the Steelers within 17-10. Trubisky, however, also threw two interceptions, including one in which he forced a pass into triple coverage early in the fourth quarter that was picked off by Andrew Wingard, giving momentum back to the Jaguars.
Johnson believed the field goal at the end of the half would’ve helped. Now, Johnson and the Steelers are forced to regroup before hosting Tennessee in a short week on Thursday.
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