Ryan Clark was flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver during the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the New York Giants on Sunday after officials ruled he made helmet-to-helmet contact with Victor Cruz. Replays showed that Clark did not make contact with Cruz’s head and that it was a clean hit to the midsection, and the Giants later announced that Cruz suffered bruised ribs on the play.
The call occurred on third down and gave the Giants the ball at the 1-yard line, allowing them to score a touchdown. You could say the officiating crew simply missed the call and thought they saw something else, but Clark believes they are simply out to get him.
“I thought I did the right thing,” the Steelers safety said according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I thought I hit him in the ribs. I tried to get my head to the side, tried to obey the rules as they’ve been laid out to me.
“I think referees have meetings about me before the game. I think anytime they see ’25′ flash and a hit be made, there’s going to be an opportunity for me to get a flag.”
It’s possible the referees keep a closer eye on a player like Clark because of his history of being flagged for illegal hits, but to say the officials are looking for an opportunity to flag him and discussing it before the game seems far-fetched. In Clark’s defense, the penalty he drew for his hit on Cruz was one of a number of bad calls that Pittsburgh had to overcome in New York. The Steelers have every right to be upset with Sunday’s crew.
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