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Martavis Bryant's touchdown wasn't a catch, according to NFL VP of Officiating

By Alex Butler   |   Jan. 16, 2016 at 8:25 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- If there wasn't enough drama and controversy associated with last weekend's Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals wildcard playoff game, one referee has added to the pile.

According to Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, a third-quarter touchdown catch by Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant should not have been ruled a catch.

Bryant caught the 10-yard touchdown pass one a second and goal play from the Bengals' 10-yard-line. The play gave the Steelers a 15-0 lead at that point.

Blandino released his weekly officiating video Friday.

"I don't think this is a catch," Blandino said in the video. "If I just had a blank slate and I could say, do you think it's a catch or not a catch? I would say no catch."

"But the ruling on the field was a catch, and we have to see clear and obvious evidence that it's not a catch," Blandino said. "And I can't prove that he doesn't have the ball at that point pinned up against his leg with the right toe still on the ground."

"This is the replay rule, it has to be clear and obvious to overturn," Blandino said. "The evidence was not, in our view, and that's why the call on the field stood."

In the video, Blandino also says that referees made the correct call when they made a decision not to overturn the call.

"The issue here is the evidence. Is there indisputable evidence to overturn the ruling on the field of a catch?" Blandino said. "It was ruled a catch on the field, so the basic premise of replay, since its inception, is the call on the field is presumed correct unless we have indisputable visual evidence that it is incorrect, then we can make a change. You watch the play live, and the question is going to be control. Initial control."

"And again the issue, did he have control with the right foot down? You're going to see the ball, there is some movement," Blandino said. "Slight movement does not necessarily mean loss or lack of control. He pins the ball against his leg there. Is the foot still down as he starts to go to the ground? The left foot comes down inbounds. Again, not indisputable."

The Steelers face the Denver Broncos at 4:40 p.m. Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in an NFL divisional round playoff matchup.

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