PITTSBURGH — Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson was fined $25,000 for his postgame comments ripping the officiating after his team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, league sources confirmed to ESPN.
Johnson, who wasn’t included in the initial list of fines in the weekly gameday accountability report released Saturday, questioned the integrity of the officials, asserting they wanted the Jaguars to win.
“They was calling some stupid stuff,” Johnson said following the 20-10 loss. “They should get fined for calling bad, making worse, terrible calls and stuff like that. That’s how pissed I am. They cost us the game. I don’t care what nobody say. They cost us the game.”
Johnson continued: “[The officials] wanted [the Jaguars] to win, bro. They was calling, everything was in their favor. They was getting every little call, but it is what it is.”
The news of Johnson’s fine was first reported by ProFootballTalk.com.
Johnson was especially upset about the inconsistency in roughing the passer calls. Keanu Neal was whistled for roughing the passer on a third-down hit of quarterback Trevor Lawrence early in the first quarter, while Jaguars defensive end Adam Gotsis wasn’t flagged for the hit that sidelined Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett for the second half with a rib injury.
Gotsis was fined $7,167 for the hit, while Neal didn’t incur a fine. Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, however, was fined $16,391 for a first-quarter hit on Lawrence that wasn’t flagged in the game.
Officials also flagged an offsides call on right guard Isaac Seumalo — who was whistled for lining up in the neutral zone — that negated a 55-yard Chris Boswell field goal. Boswell’s ensuing attempt after the penalty sailed wide right.
If the field goal stood, it would’ve cut the Jaguars’ lead to three going into the half.
“Refs were just killing us the whole game,” Johnson said. “The same refs we had at training camp. I didn’t like the refs today. At the end of the day, we can’t keep complaining about the refs. Like Coach [Mike Tomlin] say, we can’t worry about the refs, whatever. But everybody’s different.
“I didn’t like the refs today. They must’ve got paid good today or something, but they blew — that field goal, that hurt us coming into the half. We needed that.”
After the loss, coach Mike Tomlin said he had never seen that type of offsides call on a field goal in his 17 years on the sideline.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson responded to Tomlin’s comment in the pool report.
“Whether players are called for offsides, that’s the judgment that’s made on the field,” Anderson said.
Referee Alan Eck also said in the pool report: “It was a judgment call. It was obvious on the field, so we went ahead and called it.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter contributed to this report.
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