NFL backs ruling on Steelers' winning touchdown

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The NFL is backing referee Walt Coleman's decision to overturn a call on the field and rule Santonio Holmes' catch a touchdown that gave the Steelers a 13-9 victory at Baltimore yesterday.

Coleman's officiating crew ruled that Holmes did not get into the end zone when he caught Ben Roethlisberger's pass from the Ravens' four with 43 seconds left. However, after viewing it on replay, Coleman overturned the call and signaled a touchdown.

"Walt Coleman determined via high-def video review that the receiver had possession and two feet down with the ball in the goal line, meaning it broke the plane,'' an NFL spokesman said via e-mail.

The spokesman said Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, backed the Coleman ruling after replay.

Coleman explained after the game that Holmes "had two feet down and completed the catch with control of the ball breaking the plane of the goal line."

By rule, his feet did not have to be down, however, when the ball crossed the goal line -- he had to be in possession of the ball when it broke the plane of the goal line and then, to complete the play, his feet had to touch the ground.

"When he gained control of the ball,'' Coleman said, "the ball was breaking the plane and then he fell into the field of play."

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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