The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 20-10 to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, and wide receiver Diontae Johnson knows exactly who to blame: the referees.
"Refs were just killing us the whole game," Johnson said via ESPN. "The same refs we had at training camp. I didn't like the refs today. At the end of the day, we can't keep complaining about the refs. Like Coach [Mike Tomlin] say, we can't worry about the refs, whatever. But everybody's different."
There were a few questionable roughing the passer calls (which has been an issue across the NFL this season), but Johnson's main issue was with an offside call right before halftime. Isaac Seumaulo lined up in the neutral zone just as kicker Chris Boswell's foot sent the ball 55 yards through the uprights. So that field goal, which would have brought the Steelers within three points of the Jags, was negated. Boswell couldn't get the ball through on his second try.
"I didn't like the refs today," Johnson said. "They must've got paid good today or something, but they blew — that field goal, that hurt us coming into the half. We needed that."
Tomlin made it clear after the game that he also wasn't a fan of that call, though he didn't use those exact words.
"I hadn't seen that called in 17 years of standing on sidelines," Tomlin said. "Offsides, lined up offsides on a guard, on a field goal protection. It didn't matter what they said. I've never seen that."
Referee Alan Eck later defended the offsides call, but Johnson was pretty disgusted by the officiating throughout the game.
"They was calling some stupid stuff," Johnson said. "They should get fined for calling bad, making worse, terrible calls and stuff like that. That's how pissed I am. They cost us the game. I don't care what nobody say. They cost us the game.
"[The officials] wanted [the Jaguars] to win, bro. They was calling, everything was in their favor. They was getting every little call, but it is what it is. But we can't, like I said, I'm moving on from it. I'm ready for Thursday."
Johnson's claim that the refs wanted the Jaguars to win doesn't exactly stand up to further scrutiny. Both teams were penalized six times each, but the Steelers were only dinged for 52 yards while the Jags lost 72.
Despite this loss, the Steelers are still above .500 with a 4-3 record. They face rookie quarterback Will Levis and the Tennessee Titans on "Thursday Night Football" to kick off Week 9.