The Pittsburgh Steelers were a field goal away from making the playoffs on Sunday.
The Steelers (8-8) did their part: they handled the Cleveland Browns 20-7. The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets also did their part. The Bengals downed the Baltimore Ravens 34-17 while the Jets slammed the door on the Miami Dolphins’ playoff hopes, beating the Dolphins 20-7.
All that was left for the Steelers’ miracle playoff berth was for the Kansas City Chiefs to knock off the San Diego Chargers. However, the Chiefs were a bit different than the Cheifs of the past 15 games.
Head coach Andy Reid decided it was best to sit the majority of his starters including Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. It was the Chiefs’ backups versus the Chargers.
It would appear the Chargers had a huge advantage in this one but evidently the Chiefs’ backups are pretty good. The big story came with 4 seconds left in regulation; with the game all knotted at 24, the Chiefs were in position to kick the game-winning field goal.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop was 43 yards out when he booted the ball away for the win. The kick was up, the Steelers’ playoff hopes were up, and in the blink of an eye, the kick sailed wide right pushing the game into overtime. The Chargers would go on to win in OT.
There was a lot that happened in this one. Not only did Succop blow a game-winning field goal that would’ve sent the Steelers into the playoffs, but the refs also managed to blow an illegal formation call on the same field goal attempt.
The Chargers had seven guys on the right side of the line of scrimmage during the field goal attempt. You’re only allowed to have a maximum of six. Had the Chargers been flagged for the formation it would’ve moved the Chiefs up 5 yards and given Succop another kick.
No penaltly was called, no kick was made and they’ll be no playoffs for the Steelers.
Succop is not the only one to blame for the Steelers missing the playoffs. A 2-6 start to the season is a main reason the Steelers will be watching the playoffs from home.
This is the second straight year the Steelers have gone 8-8 and missed the playoffs. They can hang their heads for awhile but will need to look up soon as there’s a lot of work to be done this offseason.
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