Football Zebras
2016 Postseason2016 Wild Card PlayoffsWild Card liveblog: Dolphins at Steelers

Wild Card liveblog: Dolphins at Steelers

2016 AFC Wild Card Playoff

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Craig Wrolstad.

      Yrs 2016 crew College Occupation
R 4 Craig Wrolstad 14   Washington athletic director
U 31 Barry Anderson 10 Wrolstad North Carolina State builder/developer
HL 91 Jerry Bergman 15 McAulay Robert Morris sales executive
LJ 101 Carl Johnson 13 Morelli Nicholls State full-time official
FJ 15 Rick Patterson 21 McAulay Wofford banker
SJ 120 Jonah Monroe 2 McAulay Arkansas systems engineer
BJ 119 Greg Wilson 9 Anderson USC law enforcement
  • Replay: Larry Nemmers
  • Alternates: Jeff Triplette (R), Gary Arthur (LJ), Jabir Walker (FJ)

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20174:38 pm

The crew had a good handle on this game. Things were chippy early but Wrolstad and crew were able to keep it from getting out of control. The game simmered down, as there were only two accepted penalties in the second half. Probably the most complex enforcement was handled very smoothly by the crew. Wrolstad did very well in his second postseason game as a referee.

Wrolstad had to go to the replay booth twice, but only on two consecutive plays in the first quarter.

Also, we can conclude that line judge Carl Johnson is one cold man.

Cameron Filipe Anonymous
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20174:12 pm

Carl Johnson trying to keep warm in the first quarter.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20173:59 pm
6:02 | 4th qtr. Dolphins TD — Damien Williams 4 yd. pass from Matt Moore (2-pt pass incomplete). PIT 30-12 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20173:47 pm

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20173:37 pm

3:38 | 3rd qtr. Dolphins cornerback Tony Lippett attempts to time the snap and leap cleanly over the offensive line to attempt a kick block. Lippett cleanly leaped the line, but we was not able to time the snap. The Steelers took the penalty, which gave them a first down, and finished the drive with a touchdown.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20173:33 pm
2:10 | 3rd qtr Steelers TD — Le’Veon Bell 8 yd. run (Chris Boswell kick). PIT 30-6 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20173:28 pm

8:58 | 3rd qtr. Le’Veon Bell cranks out a 26-yard run and makes contact with a defender’s facemask at the end of the run. It is legal for a runner to do this with an open palm, but any grasping and twisting will be a personal foul. In this case, did the defender’s head go down because it was pushed down with an open hand, or was it tugged down? It’s not entirely clear, especially at game speed.


Cameron Filipe Anonymous
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20173:26 pm
2:10 | 3rd qtr Steelers TD — Leveon Bell 8 yd. run (Chris Boswell kick). PIT 30-6 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20173:12 pm
6:37 | 3rd qtr Steelers FG — Chris Boswell 34 yd. PIT 23-6 key
Cameron Filipe Anonymous
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20172:38 pm

Pittsburgh 20-6, halftime

Penalties, 11. Pittsburgh 5/45 (+1 declined), Miami 5/59.

Replays, 2. Booth review of TD (reversed), Pittsburgh challenge (reversed).

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20172:37 pm

7:16 | 2nd qtr. Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore apparently cleared the concussion protocol very quickly, seeing as he only missed one play. Apparently all he had to do was say “Put me in, coach” without slurring his words.


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20172:31 pm

7:16 | 2nd qtr. Regarding the enforcement of the unsportsmanlike conduct foul as a “between downs foul”:

Officials had essentially settled down the “continuing action” after the play. Ajayi was not part of that continuing action, and then inserted himself into the situation. Therefore, it is not enforced as a dead-ball foul, but rather enforced after the first-down chains are set following the roughing-the-passer call.


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20172:24 pm
4:57 | 2nd qtr Dolphins FG — Andrew Franks 47 yd. PIT 20-6 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 8, 20172:12 pm

7:16 | 2nd qtr. Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer on Matt Moore, for lowering his head and making a forcible blow to the quarterback’s facemask. Referee Craig Wrolstad threw the flag. After the play was over, Miami running back Jay Ajayi took offense to the hit and shoved Dupree, prompting umpire Barry Anderson and line judge Carl Johnson to penalize him. These fouls do not offset. The roughing passer is enforced against Pittsburgh, and then the unsportsmanlike conduct is “enforced between downs”, and the ensuing down and distance for Miami is 1st and 25. This is also Ajayi’s first foul toward his disqualification, since it was for unsportsmanlike conduct and not unnecessary roughness.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20172:06 pm
12:39 | 2nd qtr. Steelers TD — Le’Veon Bell 1 yd. run (kick hit right upright). PIT 20-3 key
12:39 | 2nd qtr. Steelers challenge — Short of the goal line. Call reversed: Touchdown. key


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20172:00 pm
12:42 | 2nd qtr. Booth review (score) — Touchdown. Call reversed. key

It was ruled in replay that Le’Veon Bell’s elbow touched when the ball was on “the 1-foot-yard line”

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:33 pm
3:11 | 1st qtr. Dolphins FG — Andrew Franks 38 yd. PIT 14-3 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:26 pm
6:50 | 1st qtr. Steelers TD — Antonio Brown 62 yd. pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Chris Boswell kick). PIT 14-0 key


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:14 pm
12:15 | 1st qtr. Steelers TD — Antonio Brown 50 yd. pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Chris Boswell kick). PIT 7-0 key


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:11 pm

Dolphins call tails and won the toss. Dolphins deferred their choice to the second half, and the Steelers are receiving the opening kick.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:08 pm


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 8, 20171:00 pm

Craig Wrolstad is the referee and is in his 14th season, 3rd as referee. This is his 11th postseason assignment, including 5 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLVII. His Super Bowl assignment was as a field judge.

12 thoughts on “Wild Card liveblog: Dolphins at Steelers

  1. W these referees are the worst group of referees in one year I’ve ever seen assembled ridiculous one way one cheap shot hitting son of a b******.. He blatantly went in with the intent to disengage his head from his neck are you kidding me

  2. No excuse for an offset there. Egregious hit on QB with helmet should not be offset by a mild push after the fact. 1st and 25 is not equitable here. What happened to emphasis on not offsetting fouls and getting the first guy? LJ Carl Johnson with an overreaction again, just like he had in the Eagles Giants game in week 16. They should have handled this like Markbreit handled the Martin stuff of McMahon in ’86 GB-CHI game.

  3. Understand it is not technically an offset and both are enforced, but the larger point remains–this is not an equitable resolution.

  4. Same hit like that on Rothelisberger will get you ejected. This is what’s wrong with the NFL and their few premadonna teams.

  5. While there was contact on that DPI, Pittsburgh did far worse right before Miami’s first FG and the same official didn’t flag it

  6. They missed the first time Dupree hit Moore under the chin in the first quarter. I thought it was a late hit at the least.

  7. Is it going to take the death of a player on the field to get the NFL and the officials to do something about players leading with their helmet and hitting other players in the head? Concussions are bad enough but Dupree could have broken Moores neck with a hit like that. These players are too big and too fast (physics F=MA). The NHL was facing a similar problem with the size and speed of their players and hits to the head and they did something to address it. The solution is not (and can not, in either sport) perfect but the NHL is at least trying to make a concerted, and consistent emphasis, by the officials and the league, to really penalize these players who take deliberate (or even, accidental) shots to other players heads. The game officials, followed by the league review of the hit, hand out major penalties, ejections from the game, multiple game suspensions and significant fines. Repeat offenders have been suspended from the game for almost an entire season. The Steelers have a history of this kind of play (last years playoff game with the Bengals being a recent and prime example). If the NFL wants to get serious about this kind of thing, before a player is killed, then Dupree should have been given the equivalent of a ten minute major penalty in hockey, the Steelers have to play the next ten minutes of the game short one player on both sides of the ball. 10 vs. 11 for ten minutes. Dupree should also have been ejected from the game. The same day, or the next at the latest, the NFL then publishes a video recap of the hit, describing why it was egregious and worthy of such a stiff penalty. Then the NFL should announce how many games Dupree will be suspended. For his first offense – mandatory 1-3 games. Multiple offenses being longer suspensions and more games. The NFL also announces how much Dupree is fined, and how much the team is fined. The players, and the coaches, will very quickly learn to “coach up” these players to stop lowering their heads and launching themselves and their helmets into the head of the opposing players. If the NFL wants “heads up” tackling, then get serious about it, before somebody gets killed.

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