Sports

Ex-head ref says replay ruling right after bad call

Upon further review, the Dolphins-Steelers officiating crew made only one mistake on the pivotal play of the game Sunday.

That’s small consolation to the Dolphins, who felt as though they were robbed of a win by “Stealers.”

The lone officiating error – a biggie – was the initial ruling of a touchdown for Ben Roethlisberger, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said Monday.

The ruling proved crucial in Miami’s 23-22 loss.

“For the game to end like that and us to get the raw end of a deal, it hurts,” safety Yeremiah Bell said.

The Dolphins (3-3) had a right to be angry, because the erroneous TD call by the head linesman may have cost them the game. Miami linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis emerged from an end-zone pile with the ball fumbled by Roethlisberger with 2:30 remaining.

A replay review determined the touchdown was a fumble, but because the video didn’t provide clear evidence as to who recovered, Pittsburgh kept the ball and kicked the winning field goal on the next play.

If the linesman hadn’t signaled a touchdown, the scrum would have determined possession.

But Pereira said officials aren’t trained to hold back on blowing the whistle to let replay sort out a situation.

“You make the call your instinct tells you to make,” he said.

Coach Tony Sparano said the Dolphins wrote the league requesting an explanation, but he expects nothing to change.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY?

Brett Favre has a stress fracture in his left ankle that could end the quarterback’s NFL-record consecutive games streak.

Minnesota coach Brad Childress said a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, revealed the injury after the 28-24 loss at Green Bay on Sunday night. Childress said the 41-year-old Favre is wearing a walking boot.

Childress said Favre’s streak will not affect his decision whether to play him Sunday at New England.

A bigger question might be whether Favre, who was noticeably limping during the game, would come back if sidelined. He and the Vikings (2-4) are struggling badly a year after reaching the NFC title game.

“If I can play but not be effective, then it’s not worth playing,” Favre said. “I hope I use good judgment, so we’ll see. I’m no spring chicken anymore.”

EXTRA POINTS

Eagles coach Andy Reid said Michael Vick will start at quarterback against the Colts on Nov. 7. … San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith had his injured left shoulder examined and is still waiting to hear if he will be able to play Sunday against the Broncos at Wembley Stadium in London. … Rams running back Steven Jackson had surgery on his left ring finger. The Rams said two pins were put into the finger, and his status was unknown. … Packers coach Mike McCarthy says linebacker Brady Poppinga and rookie defensive lineman Mike Neal both are expected to have season-ending surgery. Poppinga has a knee injury and will get a second opinion, but is not expected to return. Neal has a shoulder injury. The Packers already have seven players on injured reserve.

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