Bengals rookie William Jackson III explains lack of effort on Steelers TD

CINCINNATI -- Bengals rookie cornerback William Jackson III might have been responsible for one of the more odd plays of the entire 2017 season.

With 3:58 left in the third quarter of the Bengals' 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night, Ben Roethlisberger checked down to a pass to running back Le'Veon Bell. Bengals linebacker Mike Evans tried to give Bell a shove as he neared the sideline, but missed. Bell was inches away from the sideline when Jackson, also in pursuit, pulled up. Bell continued to run down the sideline and scored the Steelers' first touchdown.

It was the turning point in the Bengals' eventual loss.

As Bell continued up the field, Jackson looked at Evans and threw up his hands. Monday Night Football announcers Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden were in disbelief.

"William Jackson ... is just a bystander," McDonough said.

Jackson indicated after the game that an early penalty for blocking a Steelers player out of bounds on punt coverage was still in his mind and he didn't want to get penalized again for a late hit.

“I thought he was out, and I didn’t want to late-hit him. He’s a veteran guy. He turned it up, caught me slipping and scored a touchdown," Jackson said. “I was definitely surprised. I just knew he was out of bounds, but obviously, he wasn’t. It is what it is.”