The Pittsburgh Steelers may have clinched their division this year, but they left Sunday’s 27-24 home loss to the New England Patriots particularly livid.

Steelers controversial touchdown play video

The hosts felt like the game had been stolen from them.

A controversial play that was overturned after review erased a would-be Steelers touchdown in the final seconds of the matchup. The reversal eventually led to a game-ending interception that sealed the Patriots’ win.

“That last call was (expletive),” Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “I think he scored, and that was it. They overturned it and that’s what it is. We’ve got to live by it. We’ll come back.”


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With 34 seconds left in the contest, Pittsburgh faced a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger snapped the ball and launched a pass to tight end Jesse James, who caught it near the end zone and stretched his arms to cross the plane.

After initially ruling the play a touchdown that would have given the Steelers a 3-point lead, referee Tony Corrente reversed his decision.

“That’s the key here, he is going to the ground,” NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron said in a video explanation that was posted to the NFL Football Operations official Twitter account. “By rule, to complete the process of the catch, he must survive the ground, and by that we mean he must maintain control of the football.”

The ball did seem to bobble as James made the catch, although he regained control.

“I felt good about it,” James said after the game. “But it’s the National Football League. They reviewed it for a reason. Someone thought it wasn’t a touchdown and that’s what they came up with.”

Though coach Mike Tomlin and owner Art Rooney were vehemently upset with the final call, Tomlin said he wasn’t going to attempt to fight the ruling.

“It’s really irrelevant how I feel about it,” said Tomlin. “It’s not going to change the outcome of the game. I’m not going to cry over spilt milk and all of that crap and talk about replay. I ain’t doing it.”

Roethlisberger revealed he originally wanted to spike the ball, stop the clock and give his team the opportunity to tie the game on a field goal, but that offensive coordinator Todd Haley relayed the call for the fake spike in his headset.

“Maybe that’s on me,” Roethlisberger said. “Maybe I should have clocked it. I don’t’ know. We’re not going to look back and second-guess anything or anybody. We lost the game and I threw a pick at the end of the game to lose it.”

The Steelers converted 10 of 16 third-down attempts. Their interception on Tom Brady also marked the quarterback’s first against Pittsburgh in more than 12 years.

The Patriots and Steelers are both 11-3 and both lead their respective divisions. The former next host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, while the latter will visit Houston on Christmas Day.

PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 23: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots rushes against Vince Williams #98 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half during the game at Heinz Field on October 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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