The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped the ball and lost to the New England Patriots on Sunday. The December 17 game was a really important one in the AFC, with the winner having a clear path to the No. 1 seed in the 2018 AFC Playoffs. Playing with fire, the Steelers tried to win the game, rather than force an overtime period, and it ended up leading to a tough loss on national television. Now the Patriots hold an important head-to-head tiebreaker with just two regular-season games left on the schedule.

Jesse James couldn’t control a short touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger, dropping the ball as he lunged to make the catch and extend the ball toward the end zone.

It was originally ruled as a touchdown by the officials, but when the play was reviewed, it was clear that James caught the ball but did not complete the catch as he was going to the ground.

Steelers fail a second time

Despite the incomplete pass, the Steelers still had a second chance to overcome the 20-17 deficit to the Patriots. With the ball inside the 10-yard line, all they had to do was kick a field goal and force an overtime period. The Steelers wanted to win the game right away, though and decided to go for a touchdown rather than a field goal.

Roethlisberger faked a spike that nobody fell for and threw a slant pass over the line to a receiver covered by about five Patriots players. It was a doomed pass.

First, it was tipped and then it was intercepted by the Patriots, bringing the game to an end. It was an ugly pass attempt by Roethlisberger and not what his coach wanted to see on that final play. So, instead of heading to overtime by kicking an easy field goal, the Steelers lost an important home game.

The debate rages on

Despite it being very clear that Jesse James did not complete the catch and that the play was correctly not a touchdown, there has been a lot of debate on social media about what took place at the end of this game.

Many fans are weighing in with biased opinions based on their support of the Steelers, their hatred of the Patriots, or that there was a fantasy football impact due to the play. But the NFL got this one right.

The Pittsburgh Steelers knew the importance of this game, so the outcome is really tough to take after they celebrated what they thought would be a game-winning touchdown.

Even if they had scored the touchdown, though, there was a lot of time left on the clock. It’s still possible that Tom Brady could have led his New England Patriots right back down the field for a game-winning touchdown of his own. Now nobody will know because Jesse James dropped the ball.