Tuesday's Morning Mashup: NFL escapes another controversy when Steelers beat Chargers on final play

October 13, 2015 - 3:59 am

Welcome to Tuesday's Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire. TUESDAY'S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Cubs, 4:37 p.m. (TBS) MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Mets, 8:07 p.m. (TBS) NHL: Lightning at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN) College football: Arkansas State at South Alabama, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) Soccer: Exhibition, Costa Rica at United States, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Soccer: UEFA Euro qualifier, Czech Republic at Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Soccer: UEFA Euro qualifier, Norway at Italy, 2:30 p.m. (FS1) AROUND THE WEB: -- Had Monday's clock controversy happened at Gillette Stadium, it would be added to the long list of accusations of cheating by the Patriots. Because it happened in San Diego, and because the Steelers managed to score the game-winning touchdown with no time remaining, it undoubtedly will go as a footnote and something blamed on the game officials. In case you missed it, following a go-ahead 54-yard field goal by the Chargers, Pittsburgh received a kickoff with 2:56 remaining and the ball went out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. However, while the players jogged on and off the field, the game clock kept running. For 18 seconds. And no one on the field noticed -- not the players nor the coaches nor the officials nor the ESPN announcers. Fortunately for the Steelers, Le'Veon Bell scored on a 1-yard run as time expired, giving Pittsburgh a 24-20 victory. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was incensed when his communication headset malfunctioned in Foxboro in the opening game of the season, leading to him implying the Patriots were habitual cheaters, apparently was in a much more forgiving mood Monday night. "Didn't change the outcome of the game," Tomlin said. The NFL had no immediate comment, declining a request from ESPN to address the issue. It's the second straight Monday night game in which the game-day staff made a major error, following a blown call in the closing minutes of the Seahawks' win over the Lions last week. -- Steve Sarkisian's leave of absence from the USC football team lasted one day, as athletic director Pat Haden elected to fire the coach Monday. "After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately," Haden said in a statement. "I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation. Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well-being." Sarkisian allegedly showed up to a team meeting Sunday drunk, and there was a report that assistant coaches suspected him of being inebriated during a recent game. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton is the interim coach and will lead the Trojans (3-2) against 14th-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday. Sarkisian was in his second season as head coach at USC, where he had served as an assistant under Pete Carroll. He then was head coach at Washington until 2013. "This is an opportunity for Sark to get right and to get well," Carroll said Monday. "We're pulling for him. He's up against some big challenges and he's got to go ahead and take care of it. It's not about coaching now. It's about his personal life and getting things in order. I know he's committed to taking the right steps to do that, and it's hugely important for him." Added Carroll: "I'll be there to support him. I knew him before, and [he has] a lot to offer the world. It's been hard on him, and he's made it hard on people around him, too. He knows that. He's got to take the steps to take care of business now." -- University of Florida quarterback Will Grier, who guided the Gators to wins in their first six games, was suspended one year for violating the NCAA policy on performance-enhancing drugs. An emotional Grier said at a Monday press conference that he took an over-the-counter supplement that he did not identify. "I did not check with the medical staff before taking it," Grier said. "I really hope that people can learn from this, learn from my mistake. I'm really, really sorry to everyone. Just really sorry." Said coach Jim McElwain: "When you have an opportunity to sit down and visit with him and see the remorse and the sorrow, that's hard. That's really hard. As a coach, but more so as a human, to see someone go through that. It's not easy. But he knows we're here for him. "It's a loss. But we also have other guys and we've got to move forward. Hopefully guys will learn from this and see, as he said, it's an opportunity through his choices. Hopefully some guys will learn from it." Florida is appealing the decision, which means Grier can practice with the team, although he cannot play. Sophomore Treon Harris, who started the opener and split snaps with Grier in the second game, will take over behind center. ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 13, 2003, during a 3-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS, which Red Sox player set a team record with his fifth home run of the postseason? QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I disagree with a lot of things that people tell you to do. You'll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, '€˜Oh yeah, that's no problem.' Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements to think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living? No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that's quackery. And the fact that they can sell that to kids? I mean, that's poison for kids. But they keep doing it." -- Tom Brady, during his weekly Monday appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane, on his dietary philosophy STAT OF THE DAY: 5 -- Years since the Lightning last beat the Bruins at TD Garden, before Monday's 6-3 decision that dropped the B's to 0-3 'NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Cubs hit a postseason-record six home runs in their Game 3 win over the Cardinals. TRIVIA ANSWER: Todd Walker SOOTHING SOUNDS: Paul Simon was born on this day in 1941.