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NFL: Inability to review play cost Steelers possession

Could a controversial call that went against the Steelers lead to a change in the NFL rule book?

That remains to be seen, but NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Tuesday that the inability to review a play in Pittsburgh's Week 16 win over the Green Bay Packers likely cost the Steelers possession at a key juncture of the game.

The play in question was a 23-yard field goal attempt by Packers kicker Mason Crosby with 5:32 to play in the third quarter. The kick was blocked by Pittsburgh's Steve McLendon, then seemingly recovered by Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who attempted a lateral to William Gay.

Gay couldn't handle the lateral and the play ended when Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood swatted the ball forward and out of bounds.

Hood was flagged for illegal batting -- and since officials ruled Pittsburgh never gained possession -- the Packers were given an automatic first down at the Steelers 2-yard line. Packers running back Eddie Lacy scored on the next play.

"It's important to remember that this is not reviewable," Blandino said Tuesday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." "The ruling on the field of whether Clark possessed it or not is not a reviewable aspect, and that's something the competition committee has looked at in the past, and I'm sure they'll continue to look at."

Blandino broke down the game tape where Clark appeared to briefly take possession of the ball.

"He's going to gain control, and it actually looks like he throws a backward pass, so had this been reviewable, I think we could have overturned this," Blandino said.

"Pittsburgh would have kept the football and we would have enforced the foul from the spot of the bat, and they would have kept the ball," Blandino added. "So it's an interesting play, (but) not something that's currently reviewable."

We'll see if that eventually changes.

Blandino also provided insight on the game-sealing interception by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby in Sunday's upset win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Officials ruled that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's final pass struck wide receiver Doug Baldwin in the arm before Dansby made the diving pick. Blandino says a study of the tape shows no definitive evidence to overturn the ruling on the field.

"It's gotta be clear-cut, definitive," Blandino said. "The pass may have hit the ground; (I) just don't think you can prove it with the video we have available, and that's why the ruling on the field stood of an interception."

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