Despite Threats, Steelers Manage To Rear Ugly Head Sunday On Special Teams

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.

Curtis Brown Block In The Back Redskins

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.

  • SteelSpine

    Your last sentence nailed it: the 2 players this game are too valuable to punish them, vs Van Dyke not as valuable so Tomlin was able to make a point using Van Dyke. ABrown obiously is too valuable to discipline him even tho ABrown had had been penalized in the past (not this year) for same thing heading into endzone (last time it was taunting). Curtis Brown is more valuable than Van Dyke because Curtis is our dime back (4th CB), vs Van Dyke is below even that on the depth chart of CBs. I’m not saying either one of these guys in Redskins game should be punished tho.

    Our special teams coach will probly get axed at end of season. There are plenty of good ST coaches in college game to pick from next offseason. So this offseason, I would hire from whichever ST coaches are best in college now, & for a ST assitant I would hire any former Steeler player

  • Steve Duncan

    I think the Unsportsmanlike penalty was BS anyway. I am not in favor of showboating, but if he could do that for 20 yards, maybe the professionals on the Redskins should have stopped him? This isn’t college.

    STs overall though are a mess, and this looks like another case where Tomlin is big on threats, but not on follow through.

  • Tim Culligan

    you really want to take CB’s helmet away. Hes one of the top ST players in the conference and makes plays every game. Who caught that punt right at the 1 yard line? Not only is he our dime corner, but one bad play can’t lead to him being inactive. Van Dyke was a repeat offender who had done more bad than good.

    However, I do agree antonio’s gotta tone it down. From the flip into the end zone in the preseason to the unnecessary 1st down celebrations and this, he’s a little too emotional on big plays. love him, but remember where u came from bud. your a humble superstar, not a desean jackson

  • Steve Duncan

    Uhm, I never said anything about CB specifically.

    STs need to get better. Period. Tomlin has a history of saying things (“unleash hell”) then not following through (only replace the nickel CB). I don’t think that taking Brown’s helmet is the solution. Nor do I think benching Van Dyke is the solution. Discipline is the solution, and this team doesn’t have much.

  • Brendon Glad

    Steeler fans like super bowls so the special teams ruin my enjoyment of the game, because it is almost impossible to win a super bowl when any of the 3 units are as inept as this one is. Its hard enough anyway…so if that unit doesn’t at least play to a draw the rest of the way, then write this season off as a disappointment before its even over with

  • michaelbro8

    actually if you re-read Tomlin’s statement, he says players will sit when the team is healthy enough for him to take that course of action. Right now there are too many injuries; if not, then I’d think A Brown sits while Rainey returns punts (that still might happen); and C Brown sits for a while , period.