NFL referees seemed to hip-check players just before throwing a controversial, game-changing penalty flag

Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh has been flagged as a provocation against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cassia Smarsh. ESPN

  • The Monday night match between the Steelers and the Bears was overturned by a provocative call.

  • After stopping, Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh turned to the Steelers sideline and was asked for a penalty.

  • Before throwing the flag, referee Tony Corrente seemed to draw contact between himself and Marsh.

The Chicago Bears comeback effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night was partially thwarted due to a controversial provocation penalty.

After tracking the entire game, Bears reduced his deficit against the Steelers to 3 points and played with less than 4 minutes remaining.

As Pittsburgh passed midfield and faced third and eighth, the Bears defense flocked to Ben Roethlisberger in the backfield, and linebacker Cassius Marsh came up with the sack.

The Bears seemed to have forced a punt and had a chance to tie or lead.

But when referee Tony Corrente threw a provocative flag, the bag was erased. Marsh celebrated his big play with a spinning kick and then took a few steps towards the Steelers sideline and stared.

The flag was accused of unnecessary intervention by the authorities. But to make matters worse, the replay showed that just before throwing the flag, Corente seemed to throw his hips into Marsh while jogging to the Bears sideline.

The Steelers scored a field goal from the drive and extended the lead to 26-20. The Bears responded with a go-ahead touchdown, but the Steelers only needed a field goal to win the game on the final drive.

If Corente had a flag in his pocket in that key play, Pittsburgh might have needed a touchdown to win.

Despite the final impact on the outcome, the contact with the flag that Corente made with Marsh after play was strange.

“On the way to the sideline, I got a hip-hop from the referee,” Marsh said. Said after the game.. “That’s pretty obvious. If I make it a referee or touch it, I’ll be kicked out of the game. Probably a pause and a fine. I think it’s incredibly inappropriate.”

After the match, Corente said the call was by law letter and contact with Marsh was not the reason he threw the flag.

The Marsh Corente flag was not the only controversial call at night against the Bears.

Early in the second half, Chicago was touched down by a phantom low block penalty and instead settled on a field goal.

In addition, some of the passerby’s call and no call rough didn’t go down the road in Chicago, leaving fans at home and raising their eyebrows.

Even after all the penalties, the Bears had a chance to win the game in the end. After driving near the midfield, Chicago sent kicker Cairo Santos to try a 66-yard field goal in the final play of the game.

Santos’s attempt was well below the crossbar, and the Steelers became the winner of the fourth round.

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