Jesse James

Shades of #Dezcaughtit: Steelers can't survive the ground, Patriots capitalize

Shades of #Dezcaughtit: Steelers can't survive the ground, Patriots capitalize

Tom Brady's face said it all.

How. Did that. Just happen. 

The Patriots quarterback just watched the Steelers roll 79 yards down the field in two plays, punctuated by a Jesse James touchdown catch, to take a three-point lead with only seconds remaining in the game. And that was after Brady had just orchestrated a five-play 77-yard touchdown drive (with a two-point completion to Rob Gronkowski) to take a three-point lead with less than a minute left. 

PATRIOTS 27, STEELERS 24

But the James touchdown review was taking longer than expected. What was there to look at? Whether Brady realized it on the sidelines or not, after about a half-dozen television replays, people watching began to realize . . . Wait, was that a catch? 

The football was jarred loose by the Heinz Field turf, and James lost his grip on it. The replays were clear. Soon, referee Tony Corrente's voice sounded over the public address system: "The receiver . . . did not survive the ground."

And just like that, the #DezCaughtIt hashtag was re-born. That's of course in reference to the Dez Bryant catch that never was in the 2014 Divisional Round against the Packer -- the one Cowboys fans (and fantasy players) are still stinging over.

Perhaps stunned by the ruling, the Steelers seemed out of sorts after the break. 

Ben Roethlisberger completed a pass to Darius Heyward-Bey for three yards but was kept in bounds by a strong tackle from Malcolm Butler. That kept the clock running on the Steelers, who were without timeouts. 

Then all hell broke loose. Roethlisberger hustled his team to the line for an apparent spike, faked it, and threw into traffic to try to hit Eli Rogers. The pass was batted by Eric Rowe -- one of three Patriots who were close in coverage -- and picked by Duron Harmon to end the game. 

The boos -- presumably for the officials who ruled against them rather than the quarterback whose biggest mistake came on the final play -- rained down almost immediately. 

The hashtag #JesseCaughtIt doesn't have quite the same ring to it as its predecessor, but Steelers fans will be muttering something to that effect for the foreseeable future. Especially if the playoff seeding holds true and Pittsburgh has to travel to Gillette Stadium for the AFC title game for the second consecutive year. 

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