Tomlin Explains Why He Didn’t Pull Roethlisberger Late In Win Over Dolphins


The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have dodged a bullet when it comes to the injured foot that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sustained late in Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins as it looks like he’ll be good to go for the Sunday Divisional Round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With that said, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is still being heavily criticized for leaving Roethlisberger in the game against the Miami Dolphins even though the lead was 30-12 at the time.

On Tuesday, Tomlin was asked about his decision to not remove Roethlisberger from Sunday’s game despite his team having a late 30-12 lead.

“Because we felt Ben’s presence in the game would aid us in closing the game out via the run,” Tomlin said during his weekly press conference. “We had every intention of working to close the game out with DeAngelo [Williams] and [Ben’s] presence on the field would aid in that not only because of his presence, but a lot of our run-game was check orientated on what we saw from the defense and he had had a better part of the game to see those checks, and to put us in the appropriate calls in an effort to do it.”

Even though it was sort of surprising to see Roethlisberger still in the game with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter, it was even more surprising to see him throwing on 3rd down and 8 from the Dolphins 46-yard-line with under five minutes remaining. Roethlisberger not only threw an interception on that play, he was also injured and Tomlin took full responsibility for the play-call on Tuesday.

“I take responsibility for throwing it on third down,” Tomlin said. “I got a little overaggressive there and it goes beyond taking responsibility. I made the call so don’t ask Todd [Haley] about it on Thursday. I made the call and I take responsibility for that.”


During his Tuesday interview on 93,7 the Fan, Roethlisberger gave his thoughts on that third down pass play.

“Coach Haley called a pass play, we had a pretty good play called,” Roethlisberger said. “Hindsight always is what it is, should we have ran it, could we have done this, could we have done that? Potentially, yes. We also had a receiver, a young receiver, not run the proper route, and if he would have ran the proper route, the ball probably could have come out of my hand quicker because he would have been open, and it wouldn’t have happened. That being said, I’m not injured, I’m fine, I’ll be ready to go, and we move on.”

Tomlin was asked Tuesday if there’s any sort of margin of lead late in games that he’s looking for in order for him to let backup quarterback Landry Jones close things out in place of Roethlisberger.

“It really depends on circumstances,” said Tomlin. “There’s no cookie cutter in making those decisions.”

Needless to say, a 18-point lead with roughly five minutes left in a game apparently isn’t a big enough margin in Tomlin’s eyes.

  • Ray

    It was 30-12

  • Nolrog

    There’s no excuse for that one and no excuse for the passes. It would have been better if you had Landry Jones in there just take a knee and run 40 seconds off the clock each time rather than what you did.

  • StillersInThe6

    I give Tomlin credit here for owning up to this and essentially admitting it was a mistake. It’s all a lot of us have been hoping to hear. We all make mistakes, just ****ing own up to it like a man when you do. We’re lucky and fortunate the outcome wasn’t much, much worse.

  • Chris92021

    I know the defense has made huge strides in the last 8 games but I have a feeling Coach Tomlin still does not fully trust them to get the job done when necessary. Having said that, two days later, yeah, Roethlisberger should have been out of there like Bell was. If you can’t keep a 18 point lead with 6 minutes to go, you don’t deserve to advance.

  • StolenUpVotes

    I still don’t buy it was a mistake. If they complete the ball and keep the drive going no one is saying a word.

  • PaeperCup

    If he’s not spotted in a boot, no one says a word.

  • PaeperCup

    Yeah…seems logical. It really isn’t that far fetched to see there are reasons behind it. I have little doubt that that drive, which started at 6min, would have been the last for him whether they scored or ran the clock down a bit more. The Packers did the same thing with Rodgers, only he was full on slinging it, with the run being a secondary option. Close the game, take some momentum with you, finish strong. Hindsight tells us decisions could have been different, but game time situation, you really could make arguments either way.

  • LucasY59

    but they would still need 3 scores…

  • Nolrog

    People would have still said something, but it wouldn’t be as ferocious.

  • PaeperCup

    yeah, because there were no clock management issues to complain about.

  • falconsaftey43

    Part of keeping that lead can be your offense running to clock out…which is a lot easier with Ben instead of Jones.

  • PaeperCup

    yup, knowing Ben is out there, and AB for that matter, as a defense you have to respect the possibility of a pass. That opens up your run potential. Of course that doesn’t work if you actually pass!

  • capehouse

    False. Everyone just thought it was his shoulder that was hurt at the time.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I have zero issue with Ben being out there on that drive. 21 points in 6 minutes is not unheard of. If LJ goes out there and fumbles, and they score. Then get an onside kick, and score again. Suddenly taking Ben out is more scrutinized than if they had just left them in. The only issue I had was the third down play call.

  • Rudy Rios

    Well at least Tomlin is owning up to his mistake for calling for a pass but Ben is throwing his
    young receiver under the bus for running the wrong route if that’s the case why not just throw it away
    and stop blaming everyone else

  • I think he owned up to the play call not the fact that Ben was out there. Sounds to me like, if he had to do it again he would do it the same was, minus the throw on 3rd down.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    And actually, I agree with that. What’s the risk of getting hurt on a hand off to Williams? Virtually zero.

  • george

    Yes it didn’t sound like an apolgy or a recognition of a mistake having Ben out there-only mistake was calling the pass.

  • That is pretty much the same reasoning I gave everyone why he was out there.

    Here’s my quote from another article yesterday morning.

    “It not just about handing the ball to whomever is back there. It’s about getting into the right play, running at the correct gap, attacking the right part of the defensive look. Most guys don’t expect Landry Jones to protect the ball, much less a lead.”

  • Dorian James

    I can vouch for you saying that LOL

  • Scott

    And two recovered onside kicks.

  • It was under the “Snap Count” article.

  • Dorian James

    What’s unfortunate in all of this is that this story will not go away, and an important and decisive win has gotten lost in the shuffle.

  • unfurious

    I don’t like seeing Ben in that late during a blowout BUT…Google “three touchdowns in one minute” and you will see that, in recent history, the Patriots have done it and the Steelers themselves have done it in 73 seconds. Before bringing up who the QBs are on those teams, notice that it largely came down to Defense, Special Teams (but not onside kicks), and dumb luck. If the Dolphins had even managed one or two quick scores, you would have had Ben back in there but in a high pressure situation with an opposing D looking to remove his head. I think this is the kind of situation you have to just cringe through and move on.

  • Amen, brother!

  • PaeperCup

    Doesn’t have to be. What about a 3 n out. The drive in question starts just under 6minutes. If played right, they could have the ball back with 5 minutes, a quick score it’s a 2 score game with over 4 minutes to go. Another short drive, you have the ball back and score with 2-3 minutes left, your time outs and only down 1 score. Not saying it’s likely, but this wasn’t to the point that needed two on side kicks and 3 hail mary’s.

    It really really was unlikely to lose that lead, but we have seen crazier things happen in this league. Why not just have your HOF QB out there to just put the nail in the coffin, make a statement, and punch your ticket to KC with huge momentum. Especially considering Ben wasn’t under much duress the entire game.

  • I started to type something up along those lines but I’m getting tired of arguing with the cry babies…

  • Great post.

  • Big White

    Yeah all you have to do is go back to the Denver game a few years ago to figure out if Ben can be effective. He was hobbling around like gimp and played well. That may have been the Tim Tebow game and I apologize in advance for saying those two words, but needed for context.

  • SwagDaddy330

    Just like every coach in the NFL would. Nobody pulls their QB

  • Kevin artis

    I can understand his logic for letting Ben stay out there. The running plays was based on what you see by the defense and since Ben have been seeing them all game it does make sense to let him continue. Because Laundry Jones wouldn’t be able to do that.
    But I still would of took him out. Jones can hand the ball off regardless of what the defense is doing. At that point of the game who cares.

  • Paul Rainey

    Then why was Bell not in the game? He gives you a better chance than Williams.

  • Bell had already touched the Ball 31 times. Williams was out there to take the end game punishment. Ben wasn’t supposed to get hit. Bell definitely would have.

  • T R

    yeah and if he put landry in earlier and keep getting 3 and outs and Harrison or shazier gets hurt or Tuitt gets hurt because our defense is out to much then what? is it Tomlin fault that we was to conservative on offense?

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I meant what’s the risk of BEN getting hurt handing off to any RB. Virtually zero. But you don’t want Bell to get hurt, so that’s why Deangelo was in.

  • PaeperCup

    You know these are our compadres, we all want the same thing out of our team, so I don’t like arguing, even though there is nothing wrong with a good debate. However sometimes it is frustrating that some, not all, just can’t see that there can be logical and acceptable explanations as to why some things occur. Fine if you don’t agree with it, or would have done something better if you were a Superbowl winning coach, but cmon have a little faith your guys.

  • PaeperCup

    He already had 29 carries. And RBs take a beating everytime they touch the ball. I think Tomlin already said Bell is going to sit out practice because of the bumps and bruises just from doing his job during the game. The QB on the other hand doesn’t get the beating on every play.

  • StillersInThe6

    Unless I’m missing something completely fundamental here, that’s the whole point/the exact same thing. He’s owning up to the sheer stupidity of putting Ben in a spot to get injured and destroy our PO chances, when there was no reason to.

  • Michael Pennant

    Get Ben, LaVeon, and Brown out of the game, period. If you can’t trust your defense to hold a 3 score lead with 5 minutes to play why are we even in the playoffs. Furthermore you left them out of last weeks game to preserve them for one playoff win OR to hoist the Lombardi trophy?

  • PaeperCup

    Are we as fans creating a controversy and a distraction that could possibly affect the teams preparation for KC? If the media is going to question Tomlin a week before the divisional round, that can’t help motivate the team.

  • Your right, we all want the same thing.

    But, you know as well as I do, there are those who are perpetually negative and troll everything possible. The last two weeks, everyone is afraid of injuries all of a sudden. Like we didn’t get here fairly healthy and everything that has been done to this point is all of a sudden flawed.

  • StillersInThe6

    Why would anyone expect the apology or mistake to be about having Ben in the game? How many season ending injuries, or injuries period, have you seen from a QB simply handing the ball off? He apologized/owned up to what should have been owned up to.

  • HiVul

    Couldn’t agree more, a guy running the wrong or a bad route isn’t a reason to do what Ben did under these circumstances. Wrong route is all the more reason to just throw it away.

  • Another spin.

  • StillersInThe6

    Personally, I don’t think it simply should have gone away. It was not just an ordinary mistake, but one of epic proportions. Furthermore, no one outside of the team has any clue how much this injury will affect Ben’s performance going forward, regardless of how much it’s downplayed. You make a stupid mistake at the end of a game of that magnitude and there’s no reason to sweep it under the rug or not make a big deal out of it.

  • T R

    yea cause a bad play call by landry could get pouncey or decastro or any OL hurt or hell even DWill

  • capehouse

    If it’s not unheard of then when has it ever happened? Dolphins took over with 4:23 in the 4th after Ben threw the INT. You can’t tack on extra time when the Steelers controlled the ball and say there was 6 mins left. The least Landry Jones could’ve done in that situation was handoff twice before turning the ball over lol. No team in the history of the NFL has overcome an 18 point(or 3 score) deficit with 4:23 secs remaining in a game.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    What about Colts vs. Bucs on Monday night that one year?

  • I don’t consider being aggressive a mistake, certainly not one of epic proportions. Aaron Rodger and Russell Wilson were both in their games throwing balls up multiple scores with less that 4 minutes. They both have SB rings as do their head coaches as do Ben and Tomlin. Further more, Tom Brady is out there slinging the ball all over the yard against Miami up 3 scores in the final quarter week 17.

    I don’t think anyone in their fan bases is rioting over it. They are more likely celebrating their victories (like we should be).

    It’s only a big deal here…

  • capehouse

    I just feel like all these comparisons with other teams don’t take into account the feelings most Steelers fans have because our team has been snakebit with injuries the past couple of years in the playoffs. Injuries are a huge reason our seasons have ended and therefore must be taken into acccount more than other teams.

  • PaeperCup

    Yes, there are a lot of people disatisfied with Tomlin, which they have the right to be if they choose. But there is a lot of good things that they quick forget. 60 minutes of dominant football were played on Sunday, yet it’s one play that we seem to be focusing on. I personally want to know if it was Tomlins call to delay the snap on the FG attempt that the dolphins were called off side on. Could have been a mistimed play by the defender, but what if Tomlin was the guy that told the team hold the snap for another half second. Well that would be a genius move if that was the case. I think the above picture is the reaction to that play.

  • Xclewsive

    All these what ifs!!!! Ben is fine move on.

  • That was priceless. The guy runs and jumps over Warren and the he realizes it was never snapped and hangs his head. When you watch the replay, you’ll notice the player says “awe shucks” as he snaps his fingers and kicks rocks back to the sideline.

  • george

    I didn’t say he should have apologized. I’m agreeing with HatdPunkCore that he admitted the call was wrong but didn’t apologize for keeping Ben in.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    The drive ended at 4:23. The drive started at 5:55 after the Dolphins had just scored a touchdown.

    As for scoring 3 times to come from behind – the Oakland Raiders did it with less than 5 minutes to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers 1976 right after Franco Harris scored a TD and everyone thought that the Steelers had it sewn up since that defense that was considered one of the best all-time Steeler’s defenses with multiple Hall of Famers. Less than 5 minutes and 17 points later they had lost 28-31. No sir, a game within 3 scores with 6 minutes to go is no time time to let the pedal off the metal as history has shown us.

  • Wilson was playing for the first time this past week without a knee brace. He had ankle issues and an MCL sprain he played through all year.

    Rodger was questionable on their injury report weeks 13 – 15 with a calf. He was also hurt at the beginning of the year but a for was his ailment was.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    These guys forget when the Raiders scored 17 points with less than 5 minutes to go against the Steelers in 1976 to win. That game still makes my skin itch.

  • StillersInThe6

    Your facts seem a bit off…

    Russell Wilson was up 13 points on his final drive that started with 8 min left in the 4th quarter….
    Tom Brady was up 13 points on his final drive that started with almost 9 min left in the 4th quarter….
    Rodgers was still throwing up 3 scores, and I didn’t watch that ending to see how wreckless he was, but he was also going up against a 2 time SB champion QB and maybe the most dangerous young WR in the NFL – ie. *not* a backup QB and a bottom 10 offense.

    Apples to oranges.

    I never said there was anymore reason to debate it – you already responded to my earlier message about me respecting him for finally admitting it was a mistake. That doesn’t mean it was wrong for the fanbase/media to make a huge deal out of a mistake that was a huge deal in a lot of our opinions.

  • capehouse

    That’s a good one that I’d forgotten about but that was a 21 point deficit with 5:09 left after a pick-6, but the Colts ran back the ensuing kickoff, so it was a 14 point deficit with just under 5 mins left after that.

  • Also what about that Cardinals Bear’s Monday night game. Denny Green’s Famous “they are who we though they were, and we let ’em off the hook.”

  • Brendon Glad

    If I hadn’t been Uber-down on this team for the first 80% of this season, then that decision would stress me out more. I’m on house-money at this point. And I gotta give Mike T. love for turning that thing we watched for 9 weeks into a team that I just bought $300 tickets to go watch live in a Divisional Playoff Game.

    And I will be as relaxed as I’ve ever been for a Steelers playoff game. Only the 1989 Steelers have had a greater turnaround in my opinion of them within a season. And if this team keeps winning, I may need to revise that thought.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    They don’t have to explain anything imo. Go for gusto! Give these other playoff teams something to think about. Tired of talkin bout it! On to KC!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    We looked good in all phases (errr minus special teams) and totally dominated!

  • It’s not apples to oranges, because everyone of those guys finished their games no matter what the score was. And with the exception of Brady, all 3 guys sustained injuries that had them (at least) questionable on the injury report for a few weeks during the year.

  • capehouse

    Haha yeah another good one but that comeback took over 10 mins and involved 2 defensive TDs if I remember correctly.

  • Still an improbable comeback. That was a game Rex Grossman tossed 5 picks I think.

  • Brendon Glad

    I agree with that…the play call was bad. Run it and pin em.
    I initially was angry that Ben was in, but after thinking about it, and hearing Tomlin’s explanation, I do think that the running game would have been bum-rushed under Jones to a level that might make a coach uncomfortable in the playoffs.
    And Brady woulda been in there, so there’s that. It’s gotta be about 30+ with less than 5 before Brady comes out. So at least he’s emulating a mantra worth emulating.

  • Steel Tippin

    This exemplifies why we haven’t been a real contender in nearly 5 years, despite injuries.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    A couple of easy counters to this.

    1. Miami wasn’t really moving or scoring on our defense and if Tomlin wants to talk about circumstances dictating actions….The circumstances were that we were handling business so the fear of a quick comeback was negligible.

    2. As you point out, even if they score once you can get Ben right back in there. So again, the worry is negligble at best.

    3. Something that hasn’t been talked about too much, is how our offense was running late in that game. They weren’t very good even with Ben in there, so I am not sure how much really changes at that point bringing Jones in. The offense remains inept?

    So yeah, a very obvious and bad mistake by Tomlin, but luckily one that doesn’t look like it is going to cost us. He got away with one and hopefully he recognizes the mistake and makes the correction moving forward. He has shown to be quite stubborn in the past though.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I don’t know that that is true. People were complaining about Tomlin keeping starters in well before that. For a few weeks in fact it has been a consistent complain about Tomlin and a fair one.

    I am okay with him using his gut to make decisions, but not when it seems he always had indegestion. Terrible choice he made here and it almost cost us big. Luckily it didn’t, so we can enjoy the win and look forward to KC. We just have to hope he sees the light and adjusts his methods.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I think you mean smarty cats.

  • Steel Tippin

    It speaks to the profound absurdity of the situation.

  • capehouse

    Yeah I’m not gonna start the clock for the other teams possible comeback when we’re controlling the ball.

    As for your example Franco scored and it was 28-14 with 8:17 left in the 4th qtr so it was never a 3 score deficit. Raiders started that comeback with 5 mins+ after Franco fumbled but a 2 score game is significantly different than 18 points.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    There would be no discussion about having Ben in the game if he had just gone down once things started to break down. There was no need for him to try to make a play with a big lead and time running out.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    They scored 3 times with less than 5 minutes to go.

  • StillersInThe6

    Dude, your comparing 2-score games to 3-score games with your argument about Brady and Wilson. Apples to oranges. With Rodgers, you’re comparing the Giants/Eli/O’Dell to the Dolphins and Matt Moore. Apples to oranges.

    Anyway, I’m sure we’re both beat here, lets move on.

  • capehouse

    They actually left 18 secs on the clock and scored 17 points in a span of 2 mins and 38 secs but it was never a 3 score deficit. NFL history is littered with 2 score comebacks, but not 3 with only mins to play.

  • PaeperCup

    Really? We haven’t had a blowout since we played the Colts.

  • Steel Tippin

    Flagged and reported.

  • It’s stubborn to guys like you who disagree. He’s making the choices that he sees fit for best of this team.

    Just because you disagree doesn’t make it wrong.

    Some people just can’t see the other side. I hate to make the analogy to politics but, by me colleges and high schools shut down for a day or two and offer counseling to students that the election did not go their way. That’s just flat out ridiculous. If I had a kid going to Rutgers, I would be demanding, one less day’s tuition be paid.

    People got to realize, these guys are in their positions for a reason and we are commenting at our computers for others.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Your memory may be better than mine.

  • capehouse

    Scoring 3 times and overcoming a 3 score deficit are two completely different circumstances.

  • Burky

    I was on board and still think it’s the correct decision to remove your star players when game is out of reach, and this game was one of those games with 6 min left. However, Tomlin isn’t the only one that keeps his QB in the game. Every team this past weekend left QB in for every snap. All threw passes late with big leads, Ben threw his last pass up 18 with 4:34 left in the game. Rodgers threw his last pass with 3:52 left and up by the same 18.
    I KNOW Brady never comes out. So I went back to his last two playoff blowouts. Last one was 2015 vs Colts and won 45-7. Score was 38-7 in the 3rd quarter. Brady played every snap and threw 5 more passes in the 4th qtr. Threw ONE DEEP down the right sideline late in the 4th.
    2012 Pats beat Broncos 45-10. Score was 42-10 after 3 qtrs. Brady passed 5 more times in the 3rd with a scramble run up the middle for 4 yards on the last play of the 3rd. Threw 2 more times in the 4th with the last one coming 6:33 left in the 4th up 45-10. BRADY PLAYED EVERY SNAP!!
    We can’t possibly think we’re smarter than Belichick, can we?

  • Mercury22

    Wonder if he would take responsibility if Ben could not play this weekend, time for Tomlin to go!

  • Hypo Cycloid

    So if it was a 3 and out, this is how I would defend my decision to just run it. Even what you may consider crazy, but what if he just took a knee on all 3 downs and an intentional 3 and out. If Miami didn’t use a single timeout, they would get the ball back with about 4 minutes on the clock down 18 and only 2 timeouts. In order to get 2 td’s and 2 2pt conversions and a field goal just to tie it or 3 td’s, would require two successful onside kicks. I believe I read the success rate in the NFL is 19.9%. To do it twice would be 4% in the NFL. That alone reduces their chances to 4% without even factoring in 2 pt. conversions. The success rate on 2 pt conversions in the NFL is almost 50%. To do 2 of them gives just under 25%. When factored into the onside kicks, you are now at almost exactly a 1% chance of making two onside kicks and 2 2pt conversions. Now factor in the success rate of making field goals. This year it was 83%. This brings us down to about .8% chance of all of these things working. This doesn’t factor into actually driving down to get the td’s and field goal. Miami had about a 22% chance of producing a TD on a drive this season or about 1 in 5 drives. To do it twice in 3 chances is about a 15% I believe. This lowers their chances down to about 1/1500. And the drives resulting in field goals attempts for Miami was about 10%. Giving Miami about a 1/15,000 chance of doing everything needed for 2 TD’s, 2 2pt conversions, a field goal, and 2 successful onside kicks to tie it. This still doesn’t factor into doing these things against the clock. I haven’t done stats and probs in years since college. But this was my rough math. I hope it is pretty accurate, but not saying it is right. My memory could be fuzzy. But I would take 1/15,000 vs Ben’s injury rate on any given snap. Kneel on the ball and Miami is toast. In fact, I felt Miami made a mistake of punting the ball to us with about 11 minutes left. That is barely enough time assuming the opponent is going to kill 2 minutes per drive. And for all of those that want to argue the gut vs. analytics methods, closing out halves is definitely time to do analytics. I like gut calls in other circumstances, but know when it is next to impossible for the other team win. Thinking about it, the Dolphins chances go up just a little if you account for a possible punt return for a TD. But it raises up their chances very little. Anyways, food for thought.

  • They were trying to shut the door in a playoff game. Why is this still being discussed. Kind of aggravating you guys. They played a great game, Tomlin had this team ready and playing like it was 2009 again. Nobody is talking about that or giving him any credit. Come on man. I can’t remember ever being this annoyed after winning a playoff game in any fashion, let alone dominating it. This will be the last article I read about this topic, or at least the last time I go through the reading comments about Tomlins mistake of EPIC proportions lol.

  • I am slowly coming to the realization, that I don’t think its about being smarter then whomever. But it’s how they would choose to do something and the fact that Tomlin doesn’t agree, he’s wrong.

    It’s people being unwilling to see the other side. Their way is the “right” and to hell with everyone else.

  • It’s stubborn to people who disagree. He’s making the choices that he sees best fit this team.

    Just because you disagree doesn’t make it wrong.

  • I actually had cry babies in there first…

  • No excuses, no explanations. With just over four minutes left, Miami had no chance of winning that game . Ben should have been pulled.

  • PaeperCup

    I will concede this argument based on the fact that my brain hurts after reading your post.

    It would be interesting to take a knee at 6 minutes. Then people would complain that Tomlin is gutless and it goes against the integrity of the sport.

  • You made all that up, lol. Just kidding.

  • Burky

    NO COACHES TAKE OUT THE STARTING QB, INCLUDING THE GENIUS IN NEW ENGLAND..He leaves Brady in EVERY game. They run up the score more than anyone. I’ve seen Brady throw TD’s in blow outs late in games all the time. Do you guys only watch Steeler games? Please!!!

  • Garrett Hunt

    Nobody is perfect. Tomlin is a hell of a coach and I hope he learns from this dodged bullet. Like he always says, him or any other member of the Pittsburgh Steelers is not a finished product.

  • Damned if he does, damned if he don’t…

  • Mercury22

    No coach takes out there starting QB, I think your the one that only watches. the Steeler games, time to move off this subject. Great job CLEMSON last night.

  • PaeperCup

    It is pretty impressive though

  • Apparently you missed the other 3 games this weekend…

  • PaeperCup

    life of a NFL coach. It’s Steeler Nation, we have high expectations. He’d be a Godsend for most other franchises.

  • Philly ran the best coach and QB they ever had out of town. Now he’s doing his thing in KC. By the way, Andy Reid’s thing is the same as Tomlin’s, winning games.

  • WilliamSekinger

    If you can’t trust L Jones to come into the game and hand the ball off get rid of him!

  • The only thing he’s missing in there is the percentage of likelihood that Ben could get hurt on the play. I tried to figure it out using this year as a guide line. He played 921 snaps this year and got hurt once. That’s almost .001 percent chance that he could get hurt, even less if they only run the ball.

    It’s all moot because he did tweaked his ankle.

  • Mercury22

    I did miss the other 3 games, thought he was talking about the season.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    #facts

  • treeher

    IMO, it’s not about leaving him in the game. It’s about what he’s doing out there. First, Tomlin shouldn’t have called a pass play and if he did it should have been a quick out. Second, Ben should have thrown it away instead of scrambling around out there. He didn’t get banged up because he was in the game. He got banged up because of what he was doing out there.

  • I agree there, run, run, and run again. If you are short of the lead stick, punt and pin them inside the 20.

    If you absolutely have to pass there, a quick out, slant or screen would have sufficed. Really, any kind of 3 step drop rhythm throw would have been good enough.

    But also it’s not in Ben’s nature to give up on a play. The only times I can remember him throwing balls away, is when he has guys draped all over him. And even then, he’s trying to hit the check down half the time.

  • Brandon Watson

    And I’m sure they will, but that has not been an option the last 2 years b/c the free agent backup they signed in Gradkowski had both seasons end on the IR. You know as well as I do that if he sent Landry Jones or anybody in, that wasn’t Ben, and the replacement throws a pick 6 right away; even if the game even a little bit caused Steeler Nation’s heart to race, and it was b/c he removed Ben, although I’d like to think a decent percentage of fans wouldn’t operate on good ole hindsight, like usual, I wouldn’t be surprised. I know the Cowterds (Cowherd) of the world who tend to sound quite a bit like many of the unqualified fans we share these comment sections with; he would frame the narrative accordingly. It would probably sound like this:

    “Mike Tomlin’s over-confidence in his players is applauded and admired by the masses, so you tell me; you haven’t won a significant game since Ben Roethlisberger, who I’ve always said is one of the best 15 players I’ve ever seen (this is a lie btw, me speaking, b/c he absolutely has not always said that, but now it helps frame a narrative for him) and what do you do, you pull not only the best running back in the league, who in his 1st playoff game as a Steeler breaks the all-time franchise record. Francho Harris. Jerome Bettis. Fast Willie Parker. Two HOF running backs and an undrafted free agent who holds the longest touchdown run in NFL history, you pull the guy that just carried you to being within minutes of continuing momentum and you are about to officially start your 1st playoff run with your Big 3 … and what do you do; you have Le’veon Bell lick the envelope flap, Antonio Brown put the stamp on it, all that’s left is to allow your HOF QB to carry out the final act. You let Big Ben put the letter in the mail, you know … that notice you were about to send out to the rest of the league, but at the last minute you decide to let Landry Jones (insert Cowher’s condescending beaver laugh) to turn the flag up. But as he proved in Cincinnatti just one year ago, the playoffs are too big. What did he do in Cinncinnatti Coach Tomlin … when Ben got hurt, forced out of the game, Landry Jones was so bad and incompetent, that your injured, franchise QB pulled a NFL version of Willis Reed and with a banged up throwing shoulder guide his team down field and vanquish another division rival from the playoffs. That’s happened one year ago today, and this year you CHOSE … you opted to pull a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, who was playing behind an offensive line that didn’t let him get hit all day, maybe once not too mention a veteran QB certainly understanding of the moment, meaning he’s not going to take a risk. I’m telling you Pittsburgh fans, if you don’t publicly apply the pressure, along with your local beat reporters who just refuse to criticize this guy, who was called a cheerleader by your very own QB, a man who knows the kind of coach that it takes to win … if you don’t apply enough pressure on the Rooneys and make them take back this franchise and go get you Nick Saban; maybe entice Jim Harbaugh to come on board so he can beat big brother John a few times a year, maybe family tradition and turn Pittsburgh into the annual primetime game. I’m telling you Pittsburgh, you’ve got a few years of peak Big Ben Roethlisberger, and in a historically weak AFC, with Martavis Bryant maybe returning adding yet another weapon; an embarrassment of riches that despite having the Big 3 of Antonio Brown, Le’veon Bell, and Big Ben could quite possible end up never having won a playoff game together. Think about that. One day, within the next 10 years, you will be watching Big Ben get inducted into the HOF, and he will mention what an honor it was to play with guys like Hines Wards and Heath Miller, how he always dreamed of making a game, winning Super Bowl throw , after he refused to allow the demons of a lackluster, disappointing, YET, winning 1st SB. How he ended his playing years with historically great players, transcendent players, like AB and Leveon Bell, and he’ll retell the thoughts that went thru his head after handing off to #26, and it will hit you; they never hoisted that Lombardi. It will hit you, then, that not only should they have hoisted 2 Lombardis. but Ben Roethlisberger should have been at least a 4-time champion and literally carry on the tradition”

    Now, that was very long, but my creative juices were flowing but more to the point; I know how Cowherd speaks and applies what he thinks is sound logic.

  • The Truth

    Tomlin doesn’t run up the score. So why have BR in there?

    Running generic run plays and forcing 3rd and long is pointless if you are trying to be aggressive and/or run-up the score.

  • The Truth

    They officially stated BR is fine and playing Sunday?

  • Yea, he’s out of the boot since yesterday. Tomlin’s said in the presser that he doesn’t expect Ben to miss any practice time.

  • popsiclesticks

    So underrated. Yeah he struggles with the clock and primarily with game management (ie taking long drives when they should be trying to score quicker), but Andy Reid teams always seem to be well prepared and well executing squads.

    The thing that scares me the most is that Reid doesn’t seem to be doing the bad Andy Reid stuff this year, at least when I’ve watched them. I still think the Steelers should and will win, but this year’s Chiefs squad may be Reid’s best work.

  • popsiclesticks

    I agree with this. I was expecting some rambling denial of any hindsight but he didn’t do that.

  • The Truth

    So he could miss playing time? I wonder if Tomlin will leave him in again if they are up big against the Chiefs.

  • unfurious

    So then I owe you some counter counters:
    1. It takes one. Even when we were crushing them in the first quarter they ripped off a big chunk of yardage on a big play. One technical adjustment, one fluke play, one key defensive injury.
    What would the reaction be if Tomlin sat Ben and then Jones leads the offense into a 3 and out. Next play Jarvis Landry takes a short pass through bad angles and arm tackles to the endzone. Then Miami performs onside kick. Steelers recover and put Ben back in. 3 and out. Nice punt return puts Miami on their own 40. After an incomplete pass, Ajayi takes it to the house on a cutback because of overpursuit by a PIT Defense determined not to give them any momentum. PIT recovers the next onside kick but now they need a first down to run out the clock. On 3rd and 6, Ben runs play action but Suh doesn’t buy it. Ben’s helmet flies off as he hits the ground with Suh. He’s rolling on the ground an grabbing his shoulder. Did AB catch the pass and get the first down…Who cares, the season is over…

    and specifically regarding 3: the offense is having trouble anyway so you remove your field general. That’s asking Miami to come take the win.

    No disrespect intended, I’m just not going to hammer Tomlin if he feels he needs Ben in there to maintain the upper hand and close the game out properly. I will say that, on the pass play, Ben should have slid down as soon as the pass wasn’t there to keep the clock going or thrown it out of bounds. Draw play might have been in order.

  • Did you read the article or watch the presser?

    The run game they game planned to do, was check oriented. So depending on the defensive look and who was lined up where, Ben would make the call at the line of scrimmage in what gap to run, where the double team would be, ect. Ben saw those looks all game long and mostly made the right call. That’s why they left him in.

    I trust Landry Jones, probably more than most do. But I want Ben in there directing the running game in that situation because he got all the practice reps and in game reps.

    That being said, if Tomlin was hell bent on throwing it on 3rd down, it should have been a screen, a 5 yard out to AB or some other quick hitter like a slant. He shouldn’t be trying to make a sand lot play in that situation, but it’s also not in Ben’s DNA to give up on a play.

  • popsiclesticks

    This….you can disagree with Tomlin’s decision but this only seems to be such a huge issue in Pittsburgh for some reason. If Rodgers got hurt, does McCarthy suddenly have to apologize?

    Giants 24 Falcons 2 – Eli takes every snap and throws passes with 4 mins left.

    Brady is winging it late in NE blowouts. Not that many playoff blowouts to choose from and I understand this doesn’t make the opinions that it is a bad move wrong, but it’s not some braindead move like so many people seem to be making it into. It’s an issue this time because he actually got hurt.

  • popsiclesticks

    Fortunately the first time we played the Chiefs, Alex Smith was in there throwing down 30+ late in the fourth quarter.

  • popsiclesticks

    “Distractions” are the most hilarious part of the modern day NFL, IMO.

  • As I was reading some of that, I heard his voice for some of it. What a troll he is. lol

  • francesco

    Tomlin can’t trust himself!

  • If he doesn’t miss any practice time, he won’t miss any game time… *FACEPALM*

  • popsiclesticks

    Were any teams that have come back from huge deficits really moving the ball or playing all that well before they started, uh, coming back from their huge deficit?

    I don’t necessarily disagree with most of your post but I do disagree with that part. Cincinnati wasn’t doing much before Ben’s injury in the wild card last year.

  • popsiclesticks

    I’d be happy to talk about it after another blowout playoff win.

  • francesco

    Ben will NEVER throw the ball away. He would rather get intercepted or sacked. It’s apparently the Steeler way!

  • popsiclesticks

    Exactly! I’ll debate it with someone if they explain that they don’t agree with it, here’s why. I won’t debate it with someone who says it’s an idiot move and this is what’s holding this team back. Hell, Alex Smith threw a TD to Travis Kelce in week 4 with 4 seconds left to make it 43-14. Brady regularly does this, even in playoff games. Are Reid and Belichick idiots?

  • Thank you for reiterating my final line.

    “it’s also not in Ben’s DNA to give up on a play.’

  • popsiclesticks

    It’s always gotta be something. Why did they call that play instead of that one up 21 in the 3rd quarter!??!??! I don’t know man, but yeah, shoulda called one that worked. Guh.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    True, we can say that about almost anything but some things are more clear than others. Tomlin was wrong here and he even mostly admits it. He takes blame for calling a pass, but he never even has to worry about that mistake if he takes Ben out to begin with.

    So yeah, just plain wrong. And he has a history of being stubborn even in the face of evidence.

  • popsiclesticks

    I would have probably put Landry in. But I get it why some wouldn’t. I just don’t understand why this is so hard.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Smarty babies just doesn’t sound like a good retort. I am glad you went with scaredy cats instead.

  • RickM

    He basically confirmed what most football fans know. There was no need to get over-aggressive and have your franchise QB throw against the likes of Wake and Suh with an 18-point lead at that point of the game. Case closed. And for those who want to debate it further and talk about other NFL teams or rare amazing comebacks, etc., I’m not interested. If the coach’s own admission that the passing call was over-aggressive isn’t good enough, you have a problem. Good on Tomlin for acknowledging the mistake and no doubt not repeating it.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    That is quite the what if scenario there and extremely unlikely. Even if I grant you that scenario though, we are talking about poor player performance, not a coaching decision. As I said, Ben and the offense were already inept anyway so it isn’t like if Landry came in and was inept we lose much.

    What if he comes in and makes a turnover? Well, Ben threw a pick or 2 as well. Now before anyone misreads this, I am not saying Jones should be starting against KC or anything. I am just pointing out how you guys are trying to defend the indefensible here.

    Tomlin kept Ben in to keep the offense running smooth. Only problem with Tomlins logic is….The offense wasn’t running smooth. And because he didn’t recognize the game situation well enough, it almost cost us big time.

    Like I said, it ultimately didn’t and we can move onto KC. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore mistakes in the process on our way to a good result.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Fair point.

    I wonder though, weren’t the majority of those types of comebacks against starters anyway?

  • I have faith you would have come up with something else.

  • He only owned up to the 3rd down play call, not the fact that Ben was out there. Sounds like if he had to do it again, he would do it the exact same way, minus that 3rd down throw. Meaning Ben is still out there.

  • pittfan

    If brevity is the soul of wit, what do you call that?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Oh yeah, I agree. That is why I call him stubborn.

    My point was more to the fact that if he knows he made a mistake in having Ben pass it, he should understand that a mistake like that can’t even happen if he takes him out. Because lets be honest, there is a very slight chance he could even get hurt on a run play as well.

  • Burky

    Go look at my previous post. I also looked up Brady’s last two playoff blowouts. Check it out. Very interesting

  • RickM

    I think you can do either Wes. Leave him in and just hand-off and bleed the clock or take him out. I would have pulled Ben, but I have no problem if he just hands off for the final few series. There’s no real injury risk. The only absolute error is throwing as it puts the franchise QB at risk, stops the clock if incomplete, etc. And Mike acknowledged he was over-aggressive in throwing. That’s good enough by me.

  • Soopakatt

    Nice!! LOL

  • unfurious

    I just wanted to lay out a scenario where things go wrong with the other choice; even after bringing Ben back in and without the statically unlikely onside recovery. I just don’t believe it is indefensible because neither decision is full proof and neither guarantees team health next week. In the playoffs, if you lose, you go home; healthy or not. You win a Superbowl by playing every game like it’s the Superbowl. Miami had nothing to lose. If you open the door a crack and they would do anything to keep playing next week. It opens the door to reckless, desperate play which increases the odds for injury.. I completely disagree with your assertion that a sputtering offense is reason to take out Ben. Ben can take control back. Jones cannot. Ben makes the run game effective because of the threat of pass. Jones let’s them key on the run with hope that he will pass. Let’s even say that, Jones comes in and PIT wins, but Miami is trying to claw back in because Jones is the weak link. Miami takes out a lineman or an RB trying to get the ball back. Where does that leave us. You can’t give them reason to try. There are plenty of scenarios where the team is worse off because they sat Ben.

  • unfurious

    That’s not a strong case for putting in the B squad. 🙂

  • unfurious

    Fair to say. Just pointing out that it can happen and, in the playoffs you have to hedge against dumb luck. Every playoff game is the Superbowl until you have no Superbowls left to play.

  • sixnine

    ditto…lol

  • sixnine

    read carefully….Tomlin says he called it but Ben says Haley did…so I am assuming Coach T is just sticking up for his guy.He takes criticism so one more don’t faze him..lol

  • Outside the box.

  • He’ll also take the criticism so his other coaches won’t have to. He does it often.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    It is if there is no upside to keeping in the A squad and you risk injury.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    So you are saying Miami gave up because Ben was in? Sorry, not buying it.

    Your scenarios are pretty outlandish trying to defend an obviously bad decision so we will just move on.

    Next you will tell me a lightning bolt might have struck Ben had he been on the sideline so it was better to keep him in.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    For the record, I like Tomlin! He does have a few warts which keeps him from being elite, but he is a good overall coach. I don’t want this team to fire him. I just want him to learn from mistakes is all.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    It is the playoffs, which means time for Reid to do what Reid does!

  • Steeler-Drew

    I have to give you like just for all the hard work you put into that. Lol. Having said that, I agree with all of your points.

  • PaeperCup

    For sure… He’s young, and already successful. He can only get better.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Nicely summed up. I swear this will be my last comment on the subject. I listened to the press conference live and I was almost in shock Tomlin finally admitted he made a mistake. Yet people are either still saying he didn’t or it was okay to pass but it was a poor choice of a pass play. Tomlin took responsibility and acknowledged a mistake and that was good enough by me as well. But apparently in some eyes our 7 million dollar coach can do no wrong even if he admits it himself. Almost unbelievable to the point of a loss for words. Cheers RM.

  • steelmann58

    Stupid move all around and hopefully Tomlin learns from this

  • Jason Vancil

    The only relevant question really is, WWBBD? I suspect he would’ve kept Tommy in the game but would simply have handed off every down. OR…….wait for it…….he trusted his QB to throw the ball away.

  • unfurious

    LOL…PIT was up by three scores. Any scenario where Miami comes back is outlandish, but closing out a game is about eliminating those outlandish scenarios. I’m not saying that Miami ever gave up and mailed it in. I’m saying that putting your backup QB in with half a quarter left is blood in the water for a desperate team and invites troubles that nobody considers when they don’t happen but howl about when they do.

    I’m not worried about lightning bolts because helmets are round and electricity is much more likely to travel through a jagged or pointed metal object like a goal post. 🙂

    It has been a great back and forth with you, Phil. I appreciate that you never let it degenerate to pointless name calling. I would happily agree to disagree with you.. Thanks

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Fair enough man and I appreciate the same from you. I tend to only attack when attacked first but much prefer your style of respectful conversation.

  • Zarbor

    Well I apologize for putting this completely on Ben being Ben. Many here claimed that Tomlin was to blame and I along with others thought that was ridiculous. It was not, we were. Tomlin took the blame but Ben said it was Haley who called the play. Clearly all of them were to blame but I stand corrected, what a piss poor coaching decision. Very alarming. As a head coach completely unacceptable. I was dead wrong on this one but I hope he was taking the bullet for Haley. Just asinine to call that play. Got no problem admitting when I’m wrong. Not as tender as others

  • Xclewsive

    Ben was fine when he left the game without a hitch or limp. I believe Ben has munchausen’s!!

  • treeher

    We don’t know. Tomlin could have sent the play in through Haley.

  • RickM

    This is more about people whose ego can’t let them admit they might have it wrong…even when the coach tells them they do (we were overly-aggressive). They basically are now suggesting that their own head coach is wrong. First he’s right, now he’s wrong. Cheers to you as well.

  • The Truth

    Let’s say the Steelers beat the Chiefs 50-0. Tomlin leaves BR in for the last series and he gets injured and out for the playoffs. Would you say it was a good decision to leave BR in with a 50-0 lead?

  • The Truth

    Is that a 100% guaranteed fact? So if his ankle takes a turn for the worse on Sunday morning, to the point he cannot walk, he would still play because he practiced all week?

    *Facepalm*

    BR said, “It showed I aggravated an old foot fracture but nothing severe. I should be good to go [Sunday against KC].” See the words “should be”?

  • I’ll tell you what, If Ben doesn’t play, I’ll sign my 401K to you, how about that…

  • popsiclesticks

    Nope. I’d say it was a terrible decision and I have no idea why he’s doing it. Then I’d start talking about how awesome the 50-0 win was and speculating about Kevin Colbert getting arrested at Erotica.

  • Ray

    It was just an editorial note.

  • Richard Cetrone

    It’s not about being afraid, it’s about being smart. The defense was dominating the entire game. There is no way they were coming back. If your going to take Bell out then why not Ben? If Ben goes down our season is over, end of story. I wonder how different of a tune some of you would be singing right now if he would have sustained a serious injury?

  • Tomlin should have made sure they were all running plays. Like I said, he should have been pulled.

  • Considering Ben’s history of injuries AND the Steelers recent bad luck with injuries to our ‘star’ players over the last couple of seasons, he should have been pulled. THE GAME WAS OVER. Imagine if Ben’s injury was bad enough to keep him out for the remainder of the season, we would have no chance at another super bowl this season. TRY USING YOUR HEAD.

    If you like the way things are done in New England, perhaps you should go buy a Cheatriots jersey.