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Despite several field fiascos, not everyone is necessarily pointing fingers at the replacements.

“Someone made a good point this morning that maybe we shouldn’t be blaming the refs, but blaming the league, the owners, I don’t know who it is,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “Maybe it’s not just the officials. We’re putting them in tough situations and it can’t be easy.”

In Cincinnati, coach Marvin Lewis urged the Bengals in a team meeting to not fixate on the replacement-ref issue.

“I told our guys to shut up,” Lewis said. “It’s none of your business. You have no influence on it. You don’t need to worry about it. Just play football.”

Even if a deal was at hand, it was still uncertain how it would affect the weekend’s games.

“Your loud voices r heard about getting Refs back,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter. “We’re desperately trying 2 get it done! We want a deal that improves officiating overall.”


AP Sports Writers Richard Rosenblatt, Larry Lage, Joe Kay, Will Graves, Stephen Hawkins, Dave Campbell and Michael Marot contributed to this report.