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.