It’s tough to say which crew had a tougher day Sunday in Cleveland Browns Stadium: The Steelers running backs or Ron Winter’s officiating crew.
The Steelers backs basically lose the game for Pittsburgh with their careless fumbles that led to them running with great hesitation to make sure they did not fumble.
But Winter’s officiating crew turned into a flag-happy group after halftime, to the point that they did not allow the game to get any flow. After calling four penalties the first half, Winter’s men called 15 the second half. Nine of the 15 calls were for holding, four on Pittsburgh and five on the Browns.
At one point, the Browns were called for four holding penalties on two possessions.
Not to be outdone, the Steelers contributed with two holding penalties on one possession.
Between Winter and umpire Carl Paganelli, the two teams had their hands in a lot of wrong places.
It was a game that made a person cry out for the replacement refs. Because even though some of the penalties were warranted, it’s tough to watch a game that never finds any kind of rhythm because the officials won’t get out of the way.
Memory seems to serve that the new officiating agreement included a crew in reserve to replace ones that struggle.
If the league looks at this tape, it might determine this crew needs a little time off.