Lolley: Sorry guys, that was a touchdown

Who knew when the ball was kicked off on Sunday at Heinz Field history would be made?

The 11-10 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first 11-10 game in NFL history. Perhaps that's why the officiating crew so bungled the final play of the game, overturning Troy Polamalu's touchdown.

That's the only explanation for the official's explanation regarding the play.

There was no forward pass on that play other than the first pass, which was a legal forward pass from Philip Rivers to LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson's lateral to Chris Chambers was made behind his back, so it had to be backward and Chambers' flip of the ball backward to nobody in particular was legal as well.

That won't help any of the people who gave the five points buy a loaf of bread, but that's why it's called gambling, not winning.

© Willie Parker said the plan going into Sunday's game was for him not to handle any short-yardage carries to save his sore shoulder.

That makes some sense, I guess.

Still didn't take the sting away in the locker room of getting stuffed in a goal-to-go situation for the second consecutive week.

Gary Russell converted two short-yardage runs in the second half and you can bet we've seen the last of Mewelde Moore in those situations.

Moore can do a lot of good things with the ball in his hands. Breaking tackles or making something out of nothing is not one of them.

Parker had plenty of jump in his step against the Chargers and should be pretty fresh heading into Thursday night's game against Cincinnati.

© Polamalu's interception in the first quarter was one of the prettiest plays you'll see in an NFL game. All effort and instinct.

That's why he's one of the most valuable defensive players in the league.

© If there's a defensive player on the planet playing better football than James Harrison, I don't know who he is.

Albert Haynesworth will get plenty of votes for NFL Defensive Player of the Year because he's the best player on what has been the league's best - or at least unbeaten - team.

But if you look at Haynesworth's stats, they pale in comparison to Harrison's. And Tennessee's defense is as much a byproduct of the Titans' ability to control the clock with its offense as anything.

Harrison makes big, game-changing plays seemingly every week for the league's No. 1-rated defense.

He's the defensive player of the year.

© It's obvious why the Steelers kept Mitch Berger over Paul Ernster at the end of training camp.

The question now is how long they'll stick with Ernster kicking the ball 35 yards?

Thursday's game against Cincinnati will be a big one for Ernster. He'll be kicking for his job because you can bet if he struggles again, the team will have open tryouts for the position with the extra time it has off between that game and its next one at New England.

© The best thing I can say about William Gay's play Sunday was that I didn't notice him a lot out there.

He and Anthony Madison both covered the same receiver, leaving another open for a first down on San Diego's opening possession. But other than that, he was solid.

was, as Mike Tomlin likes to say, a winning performance.

© Ben Roethlisberger was efficient, even if the Steelers did not get into the end zone.

So much for those who were saying it was time to bench Roethlisberger.

I didn't understand that talk anyway. He's a franchise quarterback. If he's healthy enough to practice all week long, he should play. Period.

© Tomlin was ticked off about all of the penalties called against the Steelers (13) and the lack of penalties called against the Chargers (2), but there weren't too many of the calls against Pittsburgh that I looked at upon further review and didn't see a penalty.

There were a couple of questionable ones to be sure, but all-in-all, most were penalties.

That said, some of those same holding penalties weren't called on the Chargers. Harrison appears to be held consistently, but I think teams are getting away with it because of Harrison's lack of height.

The officials are holding Harrison's lack of height against him because he's able to get underneath tackles and still get around the corner on most plays.

That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter


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