Week 7 ended up providing fans with some much-debated officiating decisions across the NFL, from the ending of the Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts to the flag-filled Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers contest.
The Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams afternoon matchup ended up entering the chat in the final 2:15 minutes of the game in Inglewood.
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Was Kenny Pickett Short of the First Down?
With the Steelers needing just one yard to seal the 24-17 road win over the Rams, Kenny Pickett took the ball himself and tried to power his 6’3″, 220-pound frame past the LA trenches. The Rams believed he was stopped short, but a measurement gave Pittsburgh the first down.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 22, 2023
With the Rams out of timeouts, they were unable to challenge the spot of the ball. But fans provided some strong reactions after the play.
“Not even close, plus the ref is late to the spot,” one fan posted on X. “If this is one of the darling teams the NFL roots for, it’s a turnover on downs.”
Members of the “Rams House” had even stronger opinions of the official decision.
“Refs are terrible,” a Rams fan posted.
Another Rams fan believed the Steelers were way short of the spot they were given.
“That was so short it’s not funny. Officials are way too prominent in too many outcomes,” the fan said.
Even a Browns fan took the side of the Rams.
“Bruh, he was like a whole yard short,” the fan account said.
An even closer angle of the questionable call was captured by the Rams podcast account, Rams Brothers.
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) October 22, 2023
Did Sean McVay Provide a Strong Reaction to Officiating Decision?
When questionable plays happen, the first thought is what will the head coach say, especially since he’s the first to address reporters.
Sure enough, Sean McVay was first up to the podium on the Rams’ side after the game. He didn’t take long to address that controversial spot. But instead, he opted to take the high road.
MORE: Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart
“It doesn’t matter what I think. That was the spot they made,” McVay told reporters.
He was then asked this question: Would he have challenged it if the Rams had one timeout left?
“It’s not a challengeable play that I could — I’m not going to sit here and make any excuses about stuff that didn’t go down,” he said. “Those plays shouldn’t have come down to that if we execute like we were capable of. You guys saw the same stuff that I did, but it doesn’t do any good. That’s what was called, and that’s what we have to be able to live with.”
What Else Went Wrong for the Rams?
This was a game that saw the Rams win plenty of statistical battles.
They earned more first downs (19), had more total yards (354), more average yards per play (5.7), and even more rushing yards (135) on a day the Rams operated without their RB1 and RB2 in Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers, respectively.
But the Rams were still outscored 14-0 in the final quarter to fall by a touchdown. What contributed to the final lapse? In the last three drives, the Rams missed a field goal and settled for two punts.
Yet, the last drive belonged to the Steelers. And that Pickett sneak was part of a 10-play, 43-yard drive to seal the Pittsburgh win.
With the loss, the Rams now drop to 3-4 overall in 2023, and Pittsburgh moved to 4-2.