Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin laid down the law this past week to his special team units when he said that he would take action against players that committed egregious penalties. Unfortunately that message wasn\’t loud enough as the Steelers almost let the Washington Redskins back into the game Sunday when a retuned punt for a touchdown by Antonio Brown was called back because of an illegal block in the back penalty on cornerback Curtis Brown.
Antonio also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play for backpedaling the final 20 yards into the end zone for the score, but it ended up being declined in lieu of the penalty on Curtis.
Instead of having a 34-9 lead, the Steelers found themselves starting the drive on their own 14 yard-line and the offense proceeded to go three and out.
The Redskins took possession of the ensuing punt by Drew Butler at the Steelers 42 yard-line and turned it into 3 points just 9 plays later. The Redskins almost scored a touchdown on the drive, but wide receiver Aldrick Robinson couldn\’t control a 29 yards pass from quarterback Robert Griffin III in the end zone after Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis managed to disrupt the catch.
After his Tuesday threat, Tomlin followed it up on Saturday by promoting safety Damon Cromartie-Smith from the practice squad so that he could sit cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke on Sunday against the Redskins. Van Dyke had been guilty of four special teams penalties in the last three games, so Tomlin made an example out of him by making him inactive.
Things looked to be going well against the Redskins as the Steelers defense was the only unit to draw a flag through nearly three quarters of play until Curtis, the normally solid special teams ace, drew the foolish penalty.
Both of the Brown\’s received an earful on the Steelers sideline following their acts of foolishness, and both can expect more chiding later in the week. Despite the threats by Tomlin last Tuesday, neither player is expected to have their helmets taken away from them next week against the New York Giants as both are way too valuable to sit down.