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Old 09-08-2006, 08:24 AM   #1
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Default Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Miami fans blame loss on late flag

By The Associated Press
Friday, September 8, 2006


Referee Walt Coleman stood waiting patiently for the red flag he sensed was coming from the Miami Dolphins' sideline. A minute or so before, the Steelers had gone ahead on a scoring play that may have taken tight end Heath Miller out of bounds, and there was no reason not to challenge.
Still, the challenge flag remained firmly in Dolphins coach Nick Saban's hand. Even as the teams lined up for the extra point. Even as center Greg Warren leaned over the ball before snapping it to holder Chris Gardocki.

Finally, the flag requesting a replay review fluttered to the turf, only no official was watching as Jeff Reed converted the kick. Saban was a moment too late ? to challenge to call and, perhaps, to save the game for the Dolphins.

Can a coach be penalized for delay?

"The officials said they didn't see it," Saban said. "Whose fault is that?"

To a few Dolphins fans, the blame for a 28-17 loss to Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh in the NFL's season-opening game Thursday night might not rest entirely on the players. No doubt a few were asking themselves, "Why didn't he throw the flag earlier?"

Miller's 87-yard scoring catch with about six minutes remaining was one of the longest in history by an NFL tight end and gave Pittsburgh a 21-17 lead. The problem was it probably should have been an 85-yard catch, and no touchdown.

TV replays showed Miller going out of bounds and, if Saban had challenged in time, the Steelers probably would have been forced to try to score from around the 2-yard line. The previous time they had the ball so close, quarterback Charlie Batch fumbled at the Miami 1 with the Dolphins recovering.

Maybe that's why Coleman seemed as surprised as anyone when he didn't see the flag. By the time Saban tossed it, the officials were focused on the extra-point try.

"After the ball was snapped, we can't go back to the previous snap," Coleman said. "Once they snapped the ball on the try, there was nothing we could do."

Saban contends he threw the flag in time.

"It was well before the kicker kicked it," Saban said. "The official said he didn't see it, and when he said he didn't see it, there was nothing he could do. That shouldn't happen."

Saban's mistake was the most curious on a night neither team all played that well, but it wasn't the only one by the Dolphins. Daunte Culpepper, the former Vikings quarterback playing his first game since tearing three knee ligaments last year, was intercepted twice following Miller's score. One was a 42-yard touchdown return by linebacker Joey Porter that effectively ruined Culpepper's debut game with the Dolphins.

The Super Bowl champion Steelers had plenty of reasons to win their ninth in a row, including backup quarterback Charlie Batch's three touchdown passes, Willie Parker's 115 yards rushing and Porter's big play. Yet they easily could have lost, and they knew it, especially after falling behind 17-14 in the third quarter on Ronnie Brown's 5-yard touchdown run.

Miller also knows he was lucky his score counted. Asked afterward if he was certain he got in, he said, laughing, "Touchdown. Yeah."

"It didn't go as well as we liked it to. If we had scripted it, it probably wouldn't have been like that," Miller said. "It was scrappy game but we came out on top."

Without Ben Roethlisberger, too, as the quarterback sat out after having his appendix removed on Sunday. Batch took his place and had his first three TD pass game since 2001 with Detroit. He had thrown only one scoring pass the previous four seasons combined.

"The guys are comfortable with Charlie," said Hines Ward, who returned from a monthlong hamstring injury layoff to make a 7-yard touchdown catch that put the Steelers up 14-7. "You have to remember that Charlie was 2-0 when he was the starter last year."

The Steelers don't play again until a Monday night game at Jacksonville on Sept. 18 and, despite Batch's effective play, they are hopeful Roethlisberger can return that night.

The Dolphins also expect to come back from this, a disappointing loss in a game they probably shouldn't have won ? not on a night they were outrushed 143-38 ? but one they felt they could have won.

"We played well into the fourth quarter, but you can't turn the ball over in this league," Culpepper said. "We're better than that. We know we're better than that."

The Steelers believe they are, too. Maybe that's why Porter planted a kiss on coach Bill Cowher following his first career interception return touchdown.

"I try to tell you guys that me and him are close," Porter said.

Notes: Miller's catch was 3 yards short of tying for the longest in Steelers history. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor, who was buried earlier in the day. O'Connor died of brain caner on Friday. ... Steelers WR Nate Washington's 27-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was his first NFL regular-season reception. ... Porter also had two sacks. ... The Steelers are 31-0-1 in the last 32 games they have a 100-yard rusher.
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:27 AM   #2
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Bottom line.....he didn't throw the flag out to a point that the ref's could see it.

If it was Cowher, he would have had one of the line judges standing next to him by the sidelines and dropped the flag right in front of him. As far as I'm concerned, Saban didn't get his challenge in time or correctly for that matter. Hell he double clutched before he threw it, and then threw it 2 feet in front of him. HIT THE DAMN REF IF YOU HAVE TO.

Oh well, sucks for Miami.
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

CRY A BIG TEAR FOR MIAMI..........
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

He had more than enough time to throw the flag.
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Bah. Saban was bring a drama queen. He held that flag until the last minute on purpose. He gave a BS excuse about "waiting to see it on the box", but he knows the truth. If the viewing audience can see it on replay 3 times before the PAT try, then the coaches can see it once and relay the info to the bench. Saban wasn't doing a whole lot to make himself visible.

It won't matter, he won't ever accept the blame to himself. But that's where it lies. Saban did it to himself due to his flair for the dramatic. But you can't ice the ref.


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Old 09-08-2006, 09:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Quote:
"It was well before the kicker kicked it," Saban said. "The official said he didn't see it, and when he said he didn't see it, there was nothing he could do. That shouldn't happen."
Well, Nick - next time, don't wait until the clock strikes twelve and put a little umph behind your throw instead of tossing it out there like a limp wristed little puss. Boo frickity hoo. You have a yap and could have used it instead of waving your arms like a crazed maniac, incorrectly assuming that Coleman had eyes in the back of his head. Want some cheese with that whine?
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Cohwer would have whipped the ref around and stuck the red flag in his shirt pocket...ala the "twelve men on the field" photo.

..theres a memory for ya!!!!
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Boo friggin hoo.

The deep pass from Batch with a blatant interference penalty that wasn`t called didn`t help us. It wouldn`t have been so bad but the ref had perfect position.

We won. Standings show Steeler 1-0-0
miami 0-1-0
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Miami fans blame loss on late flag

Miami lost because they lost the momentum when they had Pitts at a 3rd and 16 they got the illeagal hands to the face call.
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