Steelers' Haden 'pissed' about penalties in Saints' loss

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Joe Haden isn't sure how he's supposed to defend anymore.

The Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback was flagged for two questionable pass interference calls in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints. Both came on fourth downs and both led directly to Saints touchdowns.

"It is what it is, man. It's an offensive game. You can't touch these guys," Haden said after the 31-28 loss, via ESPN. "At the same time, with the pushoff, they didn't say anything about Michael [Thomas] pushing me off in the end zone for the last play. It's just tough being a defensive back, but we gotta [play] -- that's what we do.

"It just sucks sometimes when those games, those plays are just so big and they're weighed differently. And it can just make or break momentum and everything. So it's very, very unfortunate and it sucks. I'm pissed. But next time I'll try to make sure I can make those plays without getting the call."

The corner was flagged for pass interference on Alvin Kamara in the first quarter on a fourth-down pass that sailed high into the end zone. On replay, it appeared that Haden barely grazed the Saints running back on the play.

Then at the two-minute warning, with the Saints facing a 4th-and-2, Haden was again flagged for a borderline call on Michael Thomas. The flag extended the New Orleans drive, which ended on a Thomas 2-yard go-ahead touchdown catch in which it appeared the receiver pushed off and could have been penalized for offensive pass interference.

"I'm very frustrated, very pissed," Haden said. "This means a lot to me. I come out here, bust my tail, try to play good defense. It's just tough, the way the game's changing."

It's become harder and harder for defenders to do their job, especially with the inconsistencies in which certain plays are penalized from game to game. There will always be some semblance of subjective human error in sports. Players just hope referees can be consistent and fair with their calls.

The Steelers lost for more reasons than a few calls that didn't go their way. The confluence of errors and bad luck has Pittsburgh staring at missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

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