Steelers Star T.J. Watt Fined By NFL For Punching The Football

By Jason Hall

October 25, 2021

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers
Photo: Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was fined by the NFL for punching at the football during the third quarter away from running back Alex Collins of last week's 23-20 win against the Seattle Seahawks.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Watt was fined $10,815 for an unnecessary roughness penalty, receiving the fine during the Steelers' bye week.

"#Steelers OLB T.J. Watt was fined $10,815 for unnecessary roughness – punching at the ball in an attempt to strip #Seahawks RB Alex Collins last Sunday night," Rapoport tweeted on Saturday (October 23).

Watt is currently third among NFL players with 7.0 sacks and has also recorded 21 total tackles through his first six games.

Pittsburgh's Week 6 win against the Seahawks was met with controversy, specifically in relation to officiating.

Head coach Mike Tomlin expressed his frustration over officiating during the final seconds of regulation, which forced the Steelers to win in overtime.

During his postgame press conference, Tomlin said he was angry over the referees' decision to stop play for a review after Seahawks wide receiver Freddie Swain recovered a DK Metcalf fumble inbounds with the clock running.

Seattle quickly picked up the ball, ran it to the line of scrimmage and spiked it with one second left as officials attempted to blow the play dead for a review of Metcalf's catch.

"I hated it," Tomlin said via ESPN. "I hated it. I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch/no catch in that moment. That's all I'm going to say. It was an embarrassment."

Officials determined Metcalf did have possession and, therefore, left three seconds on the clock instead of one. Seattle then had time to spike the ball again and set up a 43-yard field goal by Jason Myers to force overtime as time expired.

The Seahawks still had enough time to kick the field goal without the review, but would've have faced a much more chaotic situation in their attempt, rather than having extra time to regroup before spiking the ball and bringing on the field goal unit.

The Steelers also faced a frustrating situation earlier in the quarter when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lost possession of the ball on a pump fake after it was initially ruled an incomplete pass but overturned after Seahawks coach Pete Carroll challenged the call.

"The way we saw it was it needed to be challenged," Carroll said. "And the way they immediately saw it was I think he threw it. That's what we're hearing. So I had to go against what they were telling me. And their assessment happened in just a few -- you know, 20 seconds or something like that.

"And we see real difficult replays go three, four, five minutes or something like that. Well, I thought this play, if given all of that time, we'd have a chance. And even though they were -- the recommendation is you shouldn't challenge this, I went against it and I threw the flag and stayed with it, you know."

The NFL's "Tuck Rule" (Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2) states the following:

"When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble."

The Steelers eventually won in overtime after kicker Chris Boswell made a 37-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining to improve to 3-3.

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