The Steelers and Ravens duked it out late into Thanksgiving night, and running back Le’Veon Bell took an incredible haymaker from Jimmy Smith late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers needed a touchdown (and a two-point conversion) to tie the game, and Bell actually got into the endzone — but a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Bell’s helmet off nullified the score.
Here’s the blow (via GIFD Sports):
The offense was, in effect, penalized for that hit. A new rule states that a play is called dead as soon as a helmet comes off, and Bell’s helmet is off at the half-yard line — it didn’t matter that he crossed the goal line immediately after.
Bell, who looked like he was knocked out momentarily, left the game with a possible concussion. The Steelers would go on to score two plays later, but the extra plays cost them precious seconds on the clock… and in any case, they didn’t convert the two point conversion, nor snag the onside kick. The Ravens won 22-20, keeping themselves in the AFC North title hunt, and would likely point you in the direction of the Jacoby Jones punt return call if you had any issues with the controversial win.
Bell got it in there, put his body on the line for the team — and the score was called back on a technicality. A totally bizarre application of the rule that may have cost the Steelers the game. Not an incorrect call, but it seemed to violate some kind of football ethos.
What may have been incorrect: No helmet-to-helmet penalty on Smith? [UPDATE: Can’t call that when the hit is on the ball carrier. Still, brutal.]
And that’s how Thanksgiving ended.