Tomlin Says He Was Comfortable Putting His Defense On The Field To End The Game

During his Monday press conference following the Sunday win over the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answered several questions related to his time and situational management during the game, and again, he strongly defended his decision to go for the touchdown instead of kneeling on the ball during the final offensive possession.

“I would,” said Tomlin, when asked if he would make that same decision again after having several hours to reflect on it. “I just had a concern with kneeling under the circumstances with the weather conditions being what they were. [Mason] Crosby, their kicker, just had a kick blocked earlier on that end of the field and really to be honest with you, it wasn’t anything that we did, I just think that it was a low-hit ball and you’re talking about a guy who’s been kicking great all year.

“I was concerned about the weather conditions from that standpoint. Also, when they utilized their last timeout, I was more comfortable putting the defense on the field under those circumstances after getting a touchdown. So if I had to do it all over again, I’d probable do it the same. Obviously, if I knew they were going to return the kickoff 70 yards, I’d probably have a different approach, but I don’t anticipate them doing that, although they did.”

Tomlin talked about making those kind of decisions as it relates to putting the game in the hands of his defense in the moment and based on what is going on during that particular game as opposed to basing decisions on other moments in other games.

“I’ve got a great deal of confidence in all of those guys to deliver, largely speaking, but I need to make game-time decisions based on what I’m seeing in stadium and what I was seeing from my defense in stadium to that point, obviously, was more than acceptable,” said Tomlin. “They rose up to the challenge and gave us the ball back, and put us in position to go ahead. So I didn’t have any problem with them taking the field and having to win the game with no time outs for Green Bay.”

Tomlin went on to say that there’s a lot less room for error on field goal tries than there is snapping the ball out of the shotgun, when asked why quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received the snap that way on the touchdown run by running back Le’Veon Bell.

Still, the Steelers were probably lucky that Bell didn’t score from five yards out on the first down run from the five yard-line as the Packers still would have had one timeout left had that happened.

I understand Tomlin’s reasoning. I might not like it, but at least scoring touchdown meant that the Packers had to score one as well and they almost did. I would have felt a little more comfortable had the kicker Shaun Suisham been instructed to squib kick the ensuing kickoff based solely on how poorly the Steelers kick coverage has been of a late. Tomlin did consider that option as well.

“In those moments, you got to be prepared to kick and cover,” said Tomlin. “I wanted to give those guys an opportunity to do that. Obviously, we didn’t get the job done.”

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Even if you use his logic, you should wait to score on 3rd down.

  • steeltown

    I was totally thinking about whether Le’veon would purposely not score on his first or even second rushing attempt, thank god they stopped him on that first run because it appeared that he was going for the score. I cant argue with those who think we should’ve took two knees and kicked, but also cant argue with scoring a TD there (especially in bad kicking whether) assuring that Green Bay has to score a TD as well BUT like I said had he scored on that first run things could’ve ended differently. THAT is the part that frustrates me a little bit, the fact that they were going for the score regardless of the time left and the time out that GB still had in their pocket at that time.

  • dgh57

    FG or TD you still have to rely on your KO coverage unit to do its job before you worry about your defense doing theirs. The last few games our KO coverage hasn’t performed so good so I think I would of kicked a squibber to at least lessen the likelyhood of a big return because they needed to score 7 not 3 points.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Agreed I had no problem with them taking the TD. More often than not that usually results in a win. I also thought they might squib kick it or at least kick it away from the returner. Not a fan of directional kicks myself but if the kickoff coverage unit makes a tackle were not talking about this.

  • Ben Anderson

    Given how poorly the D was defending the run, I questioned the decision. They used play action and passed out of running formations repeatedly on that drive and had a really good chance to tie it. It worked out, but I thought it was one of the dumbest late game decisions that Tomlin has ever made. And, if we had gone to OT because of it, everyone would be screaming today.
    Not to mention the kick coverage, which also had not been stellar. Tomlin had to realize that he would have to kick off after scoring. I don’t know why he didn’t have Bell take a knee at the one. Worst case, you score a field goal to end the game. But even if you do score a TD, you take an extra 45 seconds off the clock.

  • steeltown


  • johnhoien

    Should have kneeled it … One try on third for a TD… If not field goal time… Squib the freakin ball or like Dave was saying kick it out of bounds…. Take the 15 yard penalty and trust your D.. We just about blew it.. And it did not need to be that close… Make them burn those time outs… Bleeeeeed the clock Coach T !!!!!!!!

  • Elijah Stevenson

    The defense kept our offense in the entire game sure they had some difficulty against the run but they were solid.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I think overall the 38-31 score should really have been 38-14 without the offense turnovers we basically destroyed them

  • Elijah Stevenson

    They talked about the Mike tomlin accident for like 3 weeks straight but the NFL won’t talk about our blocked FG when it was our possession but of course the refs cheated

  • Ben Anderson

    I love the Steelers too. But I think you may have your rose colored glasses on.
    The Packers were 4 of 6 in the red zone, averaged 5 YPC when rushing, held the ball for over 33 minutes, and put up 370 yards on the Steelers’ D. That is not a solid defensive performance. The line play, in particular, was awful.

  • T R

    right,, its monday and heard nothing about the Refs goofing..

  • Don2727

    I think he made the right call..I always hate when teams sit down to finish it with a field goal..under those circumstances a fg is not a given..take the TD.

  • DrakePirate

    excellent point dave on the non-squibb kick … that is an automatic decision that good coaches easily make, i didnt like his call to score, didn’t like the non-squib kick, and considering that we hadn’t been holding the GB offense that great his answers make no sense … if u take the game analysis only than you have to figure in our poor kick off coverage and that our Defense wasn’t exactly stout that game .. so i strongly disagree with him on all counts … and i’ll just say he was lucky GB didn’t tie it … once again i reiterate that it was the STUPIDEST call all year he has made … NO ifs ands or buts about it … this coming from a person that is not calling for his head, i just would like him to start learning from his mistakes !!!

  • pittsburghjoe

    He should trust Lebeau, he still is one of the most competent coordinators in the NFL

  • WilliamSekinger

    If you don’t like or disagree with Tomlin’s decision to score a sure 7 points then fine. But, to proclaim that decision ‘the STUPIDEST call all year’ is over the top. You can count on one hand the amount of times a team has intentionally not scored points if they were able.

    In my opinion his decision was the correct one. You feel different and that’s fine, but I’m tired of people calling Tomlin out constantly.

    BTW last I checked they DID win that game. Perhaps save your ire for a decision that actually does affect the outcome of a game instead of playing these moronic ‘what-if’ games.

  • DrakePirate

    Did you not watch the last minute of the game … wow … where were u …

  • r4kolb

    Forgive him DrakeP…yet another Tomlin apologist. It was a boneheaded brain fart by a coach that has no clue for game management. The same coach that went for it on 4th down the week before because he had no confidence in his D. Saying he was “comfortable” was just him covering yet another one of his blunders.

  • r4kolb

    Last time I checked Lebeau doesn’t step on the field. This D has been our Achilles heel all year. Ha Ha, I just read what I wrote…Lebeau doesn’t step on the field….unlike dummas Tomlin!

  • r4kolb

    We call Tomlin out because he is a dummas!!! If you don’t get that then you need to put the bottle down n sober up. Do you need a list of all the times this blundering fool has screwed up calls, clock management, etc? Not to mention he probably cost this team a draft pick for being an idiot and stepping onto the field vs the Ravens. As far as your we DID win the game comment, we almost DIDN’T win the game because of his ignorance in leaving time on the clock.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Oh, RIGHT! Because going up 7 points with 1:25 remaining is the stupidest thing in the world to do! You call Tomlin out because you don’t like him, and no matter what happens you are going to complain. You call him out for him mistakes…and rightly so, but then you call him out for a decision he made to WIN? Give me a break.

    We almost didn’t win? [/sarcasm]Yeah, because if GB had scored a TD, being up 7 points is not enough. [/endsarcasm]

    Go push your fire Tomlin agenda on some other website.

  • WilliamSekinger

    There are no Tomlin apologists here moron. But there are plenty of Tomlin haters. There is nothing else to call someone who hates the coach so much they will complain over a win. Go root for someone else if you want a coach that conforms to YOUR expectations.

  • r4kolb

    Much like Tomlin you have no clue. Why leave them ANY time. You could have run it down to almost 0. As far as not liking Tomlin, you are correct, as a coach I and MANY others do not like his constant clock management ineptness. As far as Tomlin the man, I’m called to love all. He makes those kind of blunders often. I have no agenda, unlike you I just present the truth.

  • WilliamSekinger

    You are the only one here with no clue. Why leave any time? because he trusted his defense, and because to do so would not lose the game. GET IT NOW?? Probably not because you continue to ignorantly contend they would have lost the game if GB had scored.

    So you as a coach would do what has only been done in the NFL a few times in history and NOT score 7 points when is was given to you? Well, I’m happy for you but don’t expect to many others in the NFL to agree with you.

  • r4kolb

    Now, now, wild Bill Sekinger don’t get your panties in a bunch. Again my clueless friend, we are not complaining about the win. We are complaining about the FACT HE again almost cost us the game. That would be like saying the FACT the Refs blew the blocked field goal call didn’t matter because we won the game. Bad calls and clock management are an ongoing thing with Tomlin that is why I and MANY others do not like Tomlin the coach. Now let’s just agree to disagree before Dave has to intervene to curb the name calling. Merry Christmas!

  • r4kolb

    I think many more would agree with my side of the argument. Like 90% to 10%. You’re entitled to your opinion as wrong as it may be. LOL