The Eagles appeared to have held the Steelers to a field goal in the first quarter on Sunday afternoon. And then an extremely unusual sequence played out that led to a four-point swing.
With just over two minutes left, the Pittsburgh offense found itself with fourth-and-goal inside the five-yard-line. As a result, Mike Tomlin elected to take the points and kick a field goal. A logical decision.
What happened next was something truly baffling.
The Steelers lined up for their chip-shot field goal and prepared to snap the ball when the play was blown dead and laundry was thrown onto the field. The Eagles were flagged for a delay of game…
… on defense.
How can that happen? That answer is unknown.
The Eagles’ bizarre defensive delay of game penalty was announced with laughter.
When the head official announced the call over the loudspeaker, he called No. 55 — Brandon Graham — for “making a move that’s not necessary and unlike football.” Whatever the heck that means.
Not only was it a weird call, but the referee’s delivery was even more so. He appeared to pause and try to compose himself in an effort not to laugh, but failed miserably and laughed the entire time.
It is extremely unclear as to why Graham was flagged. It may have stemmed from yelling out fake snap cadences, but it is entirely speculation.
Regardless of the reason, the penalty moved the ball much closer to the goal line. And at that point, the Steelers decided not to kick a field goal and sent the offense back out.
Moments later, they ran a nifty trick play and scored.
If Graham was indeed penalized for the false snap count, it was the right call. That isn’t allowed.
However, there is no clear, definitive answer as to why the flag was thrown or why the referee was laughing the whole time.