Steelers Botched End Of Game Management Is Most Frustrating

I didn’t want Ben Roethlisberger to spike the ball. I’m glad he didn’t. But I can’t imagine anyone is happy with what the Pittsburgh Steelers substituted. And I’m not talking about the result, the hindsight of the outcome, an interception that sealed the win for the Patriots. I’m talking about the process. For all the end-of-game absurdity, that’s most frustrating.

Bouncing off what I’ve said on Twitter and touched on in my video recap, the Steelers can’t control what decision the refs come to. What they can control is their response. And that wasn’t a passing grade. Not even close.

After the refs ruled Jesse James catch wasn’t so, the Steelers ran two plays. A pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey, tackled in bounds, which forced Pittsburgh to rush to the line of scrimmage. Roethlisberger wanted to spike it, the coaches didn’t, so Ben drew up a one-route play to Eli Rogers, a slant route that was tipped and intercepted.


Not spiking the ball was the right decision. There shouldn’t be any debate about that. But how is the fake spike the final call? Here’s my issue. The offense had all the time in the world to come up with a contingency plan if James’ catch was overturned. An opportunity to call at least two plays, the second for the situation that played out. Tackled in bounds, clock running, not wanting to spike the ball. It’s not like it’s a difficult or unique thing; two plays get called in the huddle all the time.

You need a second play if someone gets tackled short of the end zone, just as DHB was. Or if Roethlisberger gets sacked. Or whatever happens.

Instead, it was a discombobulated mess. Quarterbacks and coaches not on the same page of what to do, spike or not, let alone a full-fledged play to call. The result was only one receiver actively participating, Rogers, the smallest receiver on the field, running a slant into the teeth of the Patriots’ defense. Everyone else stood there, essentially just fans with the best seat in the house, and Roethlisberger forced one over the middle.

Pick. Ballgame.

We can, and I suspect we will, talk about the James decision for a long time. But what’s more relevant, more controllable, is everything that came after.

The catch rule is definitely ugly. It needs revamped.

But so does the Steelers’ strategy. It proved just as costly.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Intense Camel

    I love Ben, but he simply has to know better.

  • Chris92021

    Agreed. You have to disregard the sideline. In this case, it’s better to ask for forgiveness while in overtime with a chance to win instead of obeying the sideline that you threw under the bus anyway after the face.

  • Chris92021

    This entire fiasco took the NFL catch rule kinda off the hook. That is what makes me angry the most.


    bad ben 🙁

  • SteelCity

    Spot on Alex.

  • falconsaftey43

    Not spiking it is the right call, the fake spike slant is an ok call too (given that they didn’t have a play pre-planned like they should have). The mistake Ben made was trying to fit the ball in there. Unless it’s wide open, he needs to throw that away. He HAS to know that.

  • Very frustrating. My first thought was, ok…so it wasn’t a TD, there are still two plays and a FG try. If Brady is in that situation, he and the coaches are on the same page and have 3 plays lined up. Every time. Forcing the ball on a backyard play was the worst call to make right there.

  • dany

    “the Steelers can’t control what decision the refs come to. What they can control is their response. And that wasn’t a passing grade. Not even close”

    Pretty much what I was saying before the play, and they responded in the worse way possible. Live and learn I guess, thankfully it wasn’t a playoff game

  • DSG

    Infuriating. He’s a 14 year vet. Throw the ball away

  • DangZone

    I am convinced had they kicked the field goal, the Pats win the coin toss, Brady and Gronk prance right down the field to the endzone. This was just not gonna be a win after the failed touchdown by JJ.

  • dany

    Way I see it, if it was AB out there Ben would throw it with all the confidence in the world, covered or not. No AB doesn’t change Ben’s ways though, when it should. Not everyone is can make magic happen like he does, no matter how much Ben trusts them

  • Smitty 6788

    The coaches get 100% of the blame no way in hell should Haley not called 2 plays. Then tell Ben not to spike it. Wtf u mean whats the play!? So he has to ad lib as the clocks ticking. Not to mention if the wr is not interfered with he has a good chance to catch it. Rowe pulled Eli back and used his momentum to tip the pass. Thats indisputable

  • steelburg

    This has become Ben’s MO of late when he makes a mistake especially when its a call involved that he doesn’t agree with he plays the blame game. Mike Tomlin will take it on the nose and let the media know it was his fault because that’s just the kind of coach he is and it’s the right thing to do so that his team can move past it. But the 14 year vet has to be better. Yes Ben they wanted you to run a play but they didn’t ask for the INT. If he played for Jay Gruden or Bill O’ Brian they would have let everyone know that Ben has to be better and that it was Ben’s INT that ended the game in the post game press conference.

  • Ed Smith

    Does anyone know what the status of Martavis Bryant was in the 2nd half? Why was DHB in there and not MB?? Martavis played the 1st half like the Martavis of old. Makes no sense why he’s not on the field, unless there was an injury. Yet, no mention that I have seen of any injury to him…

    And Alex, once again you are DEAD ON!

  • PaeperCup

    1,000,000% agree. They should have had a play in hand, and I also like the no spike call. Great call. 8 seconds is plenty of time to run a passing play in the endzone. If it’s a miss kick it, if its a hit, VICTORY. I don’t like people saying the spike and kick was the only option.

    2 things I’d like to address.
    1. This interception isn’t on Ben. First that’s a terrible route to run. You gotta have a route that goes where there is the least amount of chance of a pick happening. Over the middle, is the worst spot. However, there is a way to throw that ball without it getting picked off, and Ben missed it by a smaller margin than most seem to think. Eli did have a step on the two defenders, but with the jersey tug and hold, the defender was able to close that gap and get his hand on it. It was only the deflection that caused the ball to shoot up 15 feet in the air, and the other guy comes from a good 5 yards away to snag it. 9 times out of 10 that ball is deflected into the ground, incomplete. Just somemore bad luck.

    2. Why wasn’t DHBs catch reviewed and turnd over. He dropped the ball. They jsut had a lengthy and controversial review about what is a catch, and the very next play the WR drops the ball in the process of the catch. Should the Steelers had the benefit of an incomplete pass there? I think the review would have been big, to give them time to think of a backup play. But curious as to why that was an automatic catch, but the Jesse James one was so debatable.

  • PaeperCup

    with you on the call. not with you on the route. I would have liked a corner fade to Martavis, but that’s not how it was drawn up. I also think that Ben wanted that win and threw the ball where he thought it would be safe. 9 times out of 10 a play like that ends up witht he ball being batted to the ground, incomplete, kick the FG. but that ball shot up and was easy pickins from there. Eli had a slight step on the defender, but that jersey hold closed that gap fast.

  • Smitty 6788

    Because them reviewing DHB call doesn’t benefit the Patriots

  • Intense Camel

    In that situation, unless it was Jesus Christ coming over the middle he should have thrown it away, end of story.

  • PaeperCup

    I don’t think we can say for sure, but what is certain is that a chance to win the game from the 10 yard line in the closing seconds. I like those chances.

    I may be in an extreme extreme minority here, but I would have wanted them to for it on 4th down for the win. Screw overtime. You are in as good as a position to win it as you can at that moment. Do not give Brady that chance

  • Intense Camel

    The int is completely 100% on Ben. No question.

  • Intense Camel

    Could have easily thrown the ball away still.

  • PaeperCup

    I question it. It wasn’t a great throw, but not a terrible one. It wasn’t a great decission, but not a terrible one.

    The Pats too made a good (although cheating) play on the ball. Ben didn’t throw it right into the arms of a defender.

  • PaeperCup

    About that Jersey pull, a lot of people see it as holding Eli back, but I like to see it the way you do too, he used that to propel himself to that deflection.

  • RJMcReady

    Bryant was nowhere to be found in the second half. Whatever the reason it definitely hurt our chances of putting the Patriots away.

  • Intense Camel

    Regardless of the throw it was a terrible decision to force it in the middle. As a QB he should have seen from the start that the play was broken and that eli was the only receiver running a route. It’s now Eli vs. 7-8 Patriots. At that point his first thought should have been to throw the ball away and second thought to make the throw ONLY IF it’s wide open. Maybe just maybe if it was going to AB I’d give him a pass but you don’t depend on Eli rogers to make that kind of play on the fly. You just don’t. Dumb decision, he blew it.

  • RJMcReady

    On the last three plays, a team (even with Brown out) which has Bryant, Smith-Schuster and Bell as options, goes to James, Heyward-Bey and Rogers.

    Much easier to say this today. But you have to wonder why none of our playmakers were targeted in the final three plays from the 10 yard line of all places.

  • kdubs412

    Where the f**k was martavis

  • kdubs412

    Bad coaching. Contingency plan for getting tackled in bounds on second is the one thing you have to plan for during that delay and they couldn’t have botched it more horribly if they tried

  • Charles Haines

    I disagree with you AK, IF Ben spiked it, it would have been 4th and goal from the 7? That extra time to think might have led to a FG or a different play that would have involved L.Bell. The way the Steelers chose to “defend” Gronk , OT might have just delayed the inevitable.

  • PaeperCup

    I don’t think it’s a terrible decision. He wants to win that game, there is a tiny ever so slightly small window but its there. If it’s caught, decision making isn’t even discussed.

    The play is run to give a chance to win it. Harmon was still a ways away from the play itself, but that ball being batted up is the only way he picks that off.

  • PaeperCup

    I would have wanted them to go for it on 4th. That’s a position to win it.

  • TroymanianDevil

    If that’s AB instead of Eli, fine I guess. But we all knew the fake spike was coming. Or they were at least ready for it so youre essentially running a 1 route play.

    I hate that I’m watching replays of Bell, Juju, DHB standing still. There was enough time to run 2 actual plays

  • Axel

    Obviously the last 50 seconds of the game were beyond frustrating, however even more frustrating was the absolute horseshit 3rd down PI call on Burns yet Gilmore is running across the middle of the end zone hanging on to Bryant’s arm and guess what? NO F**KING CALL! Regardless that Bryant caught it 7 have to throw the damn flag on that one.

  • Intense Camel

    I disagree. Of course he wants to win but he has to know when to take those shots and that wasn’t the time. It’s clear that the play was breaking down. Since Eli was the only receiver you now have half the defense converging on him. At that point if it’s not college open you throw the ball away and go to OT. Simple.

  • Axel

    Totally agree, allowing that douche bag gronkowski to run down the middle of the field untouched was ridiculous. Going to OT would have ended with the same result unfortunately

  • Charles Haines

    No bias involved at all, Pats had 4 yds of penalties.

  • Matt

    Correct. But the fact that the nfl robbed us of that EXCITING and LEGITIMATE win is all I can think about!!

  • Axel

    Agree they had to go for the TD, if u look at the pass, it was high and behind Rogers. Ben needed to throw that one low and inside. The location of the pass made it easier for the DB to get his hands on it

  • Axel

    Once again another no call on an obvious holding penalty unless of course ur name is Artie burns……lol

  • DirtDawg1964

    A lot of,people are focusing on the throw by Ben. The bigger issue, as Alex is trying to point out, is why weren’t the .steelers prepared for the final sequence?

    I’m a Tomlin supporter but it doesn’t mean I won’t overlook some of his challenges. He should have had Ben and Haley huddled while the refs figured out the James play. They should have had a clear vision for what they’d do.

    The last thing they should have been doing was getting in Ben’s ear hole as the game clock is winding down. You’re not setting yourself up for success when you do that.

    And this is what’s so maddening about Tomlin at times. I’m oretty sure BB and TB would have been in the same page in that exact same circumstance. Nothing would be left to chance.

    We let this one slip. A bad ref’s call. Bad execution at the end. Just too many small mistakes. The talent is obviously there. We made some big plays. We need to wrap up the finer details.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Thank you. Even if Rogers was held, that was the worst possible spot he could have thrown the ball. Ben has been playing great, but that was a terrible throw.


    Last night I said the same, essentially, to my wife. there was a long review at that time you have to work with the possibility of it being over turned. you have 2 plays called and ready for whatever eventuality occurs. this is on the coaches and Ben. in the end even with no plays prepared for a non clock stopped play on 2nd down Ben needs to not throw that ball into the heart of that D with only Eli there. He may have disagreed with the call but he had the power to throw the ball away. Now I am not mad at Ben or the coaches this was a bad ending to a fairly decent performance sans AB. I still think it was a catch, I still think we should have done better stopping the 2pt conversion, I still think Ben should have thrown that last pass away, I still think we should’ve gone for it, I still think we should’ve had 2 plays ready to go while the review was happening…thing is…what I think is irrelevant, game is over and we lost. time to move on to Houston. What I am though is more confident in our ability to beat the Pats home or away. I am not willing to concede the 1 seed yet…Buffalo may have a surprise for the Pats. we need to win our last 2 and go from there

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree. Those last two plays are the most concerning. I was keeping my cool. I don’t know why the Steelers couldn’t keep theirs!

  • Nathanael Dory

    I agree

  • Balok’s Plight

    Exactly, put MB in there, esp at the goaline

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I don’t blame the call to go for it. And I’m not going to crucify Ben because without him, we never would’ve even been in that position to begin with. What I am most disappointed in was the play call. No one else moves and you have Rogers on a slant? That was the best they could come up with?

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Because all scoring plays get automatically reviewed. The time from the end of the DHB catch to the snap of the next play was less than 10 seconds, not enough time for them to buzz down to review the play.

  • Jonathan Bell

    I say the following with a heavy heart, as I am a terminal Steeler fan at the brink of needing therapy after this one.

    Patriots = fanatical attention to detail, a disciplined culture with contingency plans drilled in place for virtually every situation. Results: Super Bowl without Gronk, 11-3 this year without Edelman, et al

    Steelers = overly emotional, too much noise in locker room, over reliance on individual talent

    The stunning lack of tactical coherence in those last seconds rests squarely on Tomlin. Yes, one can plausibly argue we got robbed on the JJ TD depending on one’s view of “possession” and so forth.

    Nevertheless, we got out coached, out managed AGAIN. Of course, this goes for every other team the Patriots play, so it’s not a case of picking on Tomlin. However, it is unlikely we ever beat the Patriots as long as if, at the preparation/mental levels of the game, the gap remains so wide.

  • PaeperCup


  • LucasY59

    It was frustrating, but I cant say it is more frustrating because if they got the call right on the TD then the rest of it wouldnt matter

  • EdJHJr

    did they kick the field goal yet

  • EdJHJr

    the more I look at it he did yank him down. oh well

  • Michael Pennant

    BUT, why were we playing with only 10 men on defense on the Patriots last drive? Mike Mitchell is awful. When he plays center field he does not have the speed to breakup passes to either sideline (thus the long pass completions). Then what happens when a team throws passes down the middle he starts backing up. They showed an overhead shot of Gronks 2 passes he caught down the middle and where was Mitchell? At least on the second one that was floated for 25+ yards he should have been able to make a play on the ball. OOPs, he hasn’t made a play on the ball all season. I bet he is the ONLY starting FS that doesn’t have a pass defense. We need to look at TE and FS high on our draft list next year.

  • Michael Pennant

    Agreed, that ball should have been thrown low where only our wr has a chance to catch it. H’es been playing for 15+ years, he doesn’t need a coach to tell him that, especially in that situation he shouldn’t have tried to fit it in. Losing the game was bad enough, BUT the way we lost with Ryan at the game was unbearable as a fan. Let’s get the next 2 and hope the Pats screw up one of their last 2.

  • david mecucci

    On the final play Ben’s arm was deflected because jj is just standing there LOOKING at Ben instead of staying on his block Eli was open and I think Ben hits him if his arm is not hit

  • Michael Pennant

    Execution. Ben has to throw the ball down and not try to fit it in. Going for the win was totally acceptable especially after Ryan showed up for the game, then losing AB, and JuJu making the big play. Things were lined up.

  • Darth Blount 47

    My semi-objective point of view agrees. But why take the onus off the refs to CONTINUE TO DO THEIR JOBS AS WELL?

    Can anyone look at that final play and say that Eli Rogers was NOT held? So if the refs do their jobs, (HILARIOUS PROPOSITION AT THAT POINT, I know) then we get another down, kick the FG, and the NFL is somewhat saved from the terrible/not-terrible/horrendous/not-horrendous/ridiculous/not-ridiculous/depending on your view, call on Jesse James.

    But no, it ALL has to come back and fall on OUR shoulders to only be the ones actually executing our jobs properly. Per usual, we seem to have to overcome no only the Pats, not only their shenanigans that only get reported on after the facts, but also the OFFICIALS? At some point, that becomes too much for anyone to handle.

    Can’t wait to get videotaped by drones, have our head-sets mid-game play the Oldies station, after having our players get woken up at 3 in the morning by a fire alarm, in Foxboro.

  • Michael Pennant

    Agreed. Ben has had too many games where he has had to say “It was my fault, or It was on me”. Even so how in the hell does JJ NOT hold onto that ball. He wasn’t hit, he was just falling to the ground by himself. He has 2 hands on it, even when he hits the ground and 1 hand comes of the other hand should still be in control. He is 6’6″, so his hands should be big enough to hold onto that ball. especially with no contact from a defender. Ben was bad but JJ should have caught that freaking ball. The catch rule is what it is and was not the cause for the loss. JJ has to make that uncontested catch, end of discussion.

  • Michael Pennant

    Thrown it down Ben.

  • Rob S.

    The decision to throw a 3 yard pass to Heyward-Bey was a stupid one by Roethlisberger. He should have just thrown it over his head and try it again from the 10-yard line. That to me was the most egregious error in that last sequence. You have to know the situation.

  • Alex Kozora

    If it’s 4th down, they’re kicking the FG. And in OT, sure, they probably don’t stop the Pats offense. But if they get the ball first, maybe they go down and score.

  • NCSteel

    True, don’t want to hear it from a 14 year Vet either about where the call came from.
    Call anything you want and tell Haley to shove it on the sidelines if thats what he called… what are they gonna do, sit you down to learn a lesson. BS all the way around. That said and out of the way. Screw this, never, ever been as upset at the NFL ever… I mean ever. Robbed completely robbed.
    God Bless em for thinking they have a chance still. That WAS they’re chance, who do they have to go through now to get to that den of spying and cheating and fire alarms and nonsense ?
    Who Jacksonville, Baltimore again ? If they win, they’ll limp into Foxboro cause those games are so damn physical. I hope I’m wrong but the fact is they were stripped of their best chance to get back to the Super Bowl. I will not watch any Super Bowl the Steelers are not involved in. They earned it and it was taken away.

    NFL, short for cheating SOB’s.

  • Keshav Gupta

    I agree two plays should have been called when touchdown was overturned. It has been two games in a row where quarterback and coaches were not on the same page towards the ends of the game. Steelers were lucky to survive two wobbly passes against Baltimore. Against Patriots it caught up with them.

  • www_jonahyo_net

    I wonder if AB, who it seems communicates telepathically with Big Ben, sees or feels that the slant into triple coverage is bad and on the fly cuts sharply back out to a corner route toward the NFL logo??? The DB probably either holds him because he’s beat or Ben lobs one out there for AB to run under for a TD. We’ll never know.

  • Alex Kozora

    I bet if it’s AB, they’re throwing the fade again.

  • steelmann58

    YOUr right pathetic call there why is rodgers the WR Their but more disturbing was the play calling after theNE fg freaking draw ton 33 really

  • Charles Teed

    Completely agree. This sums up how I feel about end of game too. Wasting time out earlier in second half was stupid too. Forgot when it was, but they needed to be saved for last 2 minutes.

  • Steelerbob

    Definitely wouldve beena mistake to spike it. why go to OT if you dont have too. their odds of winning were much higher to run a play and maybe score than to go to OT where you may or may not even get the ball. I had a hard time listening to much of what romo said, but a fade or even an out route was the play, not the middle of a jammed field. Going for the win was right as alex said, but the execution was not.

  • DJ

    How about these apples: If the offense gets the job done after the Pats FG and runs out the clock w/o giving the ball back to 12, the Steelers win the game, hold the Pats to 19pts, under 300 total yards, 87 under 100yds, and 12 to 229yds. Keith Butler & the D would be the talk of the day. The Steelers controlled the clock and converted 3rd downs all game but when they had a chance to rip the Pats hearts out they go 3 & out. THAT was the key of the game imo.

  • Brian Tollini

    Most intelligent thing I have heard or read about the end of this game. Learn from it and move on. Lets get ready for the Texans. I don’t want to mention the Patriots again until we are playing them…if we play them.

  • www_jonahyo_net

    Probably right. It’s just mind-boggling that you run a slant into triple coverage, into the teeth of the D like you said. I can see a fake slant when Ben pump fakes and then cut back out to a fade, kind of like a slant-and-go only a ten to fifteen yard version. Crazy ending. Ugly.

  • Joe Craig

    Looked like defensive pass interference to me, but this is no where in the discussion! He just about tackled Eli!

  • NinjaMountie

    Thank You, Alex!!!! Couldn’t have said it better! They had PLENTY of time to come up with a two play strategy. Things like this make me wonder sometimes. Geesh, that review was longer than most timeouts. If you can’t call a play and a contingency play then you need to find a new profession.
    Honestly, and you know I don’t say this often, but this game was lost by the coaches. This, the conservative 4th quarter play calling, and leaving Gronk one on one too much on that last drive.

  • NinjaMountie

    I’m did this for another conversation but I’m going to post it here for people to look at because it worried the bejeebers out of me, lol:
    Next year we have 7 people on the books for 10mill+, add Bell’s 15 and that makes 8 people for a total of 115.1 million against the cap.
    I looked at other teams with a franchise QB to closely match our situation: GB, NE, NO (this year for NO because Brees isn’t on their books next season).
    GB: 6 players for a total of 79.7 mill.
    NE: 4 players for 57.4 mill.
    NO: 2 players for 31 mill.

  • nitrous12

    Against the Bills and Jets at home? Not happening. We won’t be getting help from the Patriots. Take care of business and secure the #2 spot. Get ready to defend the house against a Jags team that embarrassed you there earlier and then look to finally get this done in Foxboro.

  • westcoasteeler

    Well said. I’m upset that one receiver, only Eli, understood the situation. It’s on you personally to be on the game. Regardless of any type of communication btwn he and Ben, every other eligible receiver has seen us, on multiple occasions, score on the fake spike. We had them by the throat and let go before it snapped. We hung out during the 10 min it took for the league to contact vegas for instructions. This hurts.

  • SteelerMike

    In regards to the title of this title — No, it’s not. It’s the play where the refs/league office took the game from the Steelers that was most frustrating.

  • BurghBoy412

    It’s time to move on. They didn’t get the win. On to the next game. You don’t wanna go from the 2 to 3 seed by dwelling on this loss. Besides there is still a chance the Pats lose 1 of their next 2 games. This NE team is primed for a let down game against Buffalo Sunday. This isn’t a dominate Pats team. They have many glaring weaknesses and the Steelers just proved they can play with them minus their 2 best players. I see this game going a long way towards building confidence in our young players. These guys are highly competitive and if they had any fear about their ability to hang with NE that fear has got to be removed now. If there is a 2nd game I’d be pretty certain the Pats will be the ones with the worries. Because they know deep down they got lucky.

  • Ni mo

    Should have spiked it and kicked the FG

  • Ni mo

    Mitchelll? Davis was terrible and burns was toast

  • PaeperCup

    I would have loved a gutsy 4th down call. 10 yard line, that’s pretty good odds. If they didn’t make it I think I’d walk away thinking they did their best, and wouldn’t question the call. I know a lot of folks would though, understandably.

    Even if Steelers get the ball, they go the length of the field, but only end up with a FG. I can totally see Brady driving for a game winning TD. I would be upset with that one.

  • Paul Barnett

    Naw, they played it out, just like the National Fake League, wanted it played out.

  • PaeperCup

    Bills are a playoff team! And the Jets, well if there is a team that for some reason always gives the Pats fits, it’s the Jets. must be a divisional rival thing. We see it here in the AFCN. It could happen.

  • steelersfan

    Days like today I wish I didn’t care about football.

  • L Garou

    The main events of the evening Tomlin (and Jesse) know as well as anyone who watched.
    1) Jesse didn’t make the catch. He should have made that catch. TD or not.
    2) Ben should have thrown it away. Instead he threw a bad pass and it was intercepted.
    3) Butler should have doubled Gronk, especially on that two point play, but he didn’t.

  • MJK

    this is clearly a coaching mees, read the article above tomlin was cheerleading not coaching, they had all day to set up the end of game , the james call took forever, no excuses the coaches dropped this one

  • capehouse

    I still think Ben throwing that ball is way more dumb than not having 2 plays called. You can’t throw that.

  • Steelerbob

    yea that 2 point play was crazy. was there anyone watching who didnt know the ball was going there especially with the one on one?

  • L Garou

    The same way everyone on earth knew that bomb was coming first series..

  • Hec

    The hypothetical don’t make a whole lot of sense now! None of that matters anymore! Game over our team lost to the Patriots……again! Actually, they beat themselves…..again. The one thing I took out of this game was the fact that they had everything the team wanted to make a Super Bowl run through Heinz Field after months of planning, and yet, they found a way to hand it all back to the Patriots in 38 seconds!

  • Hec

    Yea, Mike Mitchell!

  • Steelerbob

    Now that was funny

  • Hec

    Fish bait, everyone on defense bit!

  • Hec

    True! But, Rogers was supposed to fade outside not inside. If you look at the play well you’ll see Ben was going to throw the ball to the pylon but Eli went on a slant so he had to re-adjust his throwing motion. I still don’t understand why they had him playing outside, regardless. JuJu or Hunter should of been on the outside. The one flaw about this team is not having any contingency plans for the what-ifs.

  • capehouse

    Shouldn’t have thrown the crossing route to DHB against zone coverage either, and DHB shouldn’t get tackled in bounds. Throw a friggin stiff arm or something. What an epic disaster at the very end.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    I respectfully disagree. New England will not slip up and will host the AFC championship game, hopefully against us. Our chances of winning that game are around 15% if I had to put a number on it. Brady 17-3 at home in the playoffs.

  • BurghBoy412

    Did you watch the NE post game locker room interviews? Didn’t appear like a bunch of players that we’re convinced they won that game. You could see they we’re questioning themselves. I’m telling you that game planted a seed in the Pats minds. They don’t really believe they are that good. They don’t believe they can really beat the Steelers again.

  • Edo M

    Hey Mike about whilst they are taking forever to evaluate the james touchdown you form a plan in case the TD is overturned rather than just being team cheerleader? I think everyone saw that ball move. hey mike, do you know how that rule even works?

    Here’s a scenario….”ok Ben, we’ve plenty of the pass play..if that doesnt get us there, we’re going with the fake spike (BUT MAKE SURE THE GUY IS OPEN OR THROW IT AWAY), if that doesnt work we’re kickin the field goal…1-2-3 break. Instead the coaches only came up with one play (joke) and then had to yell into ben’s helmet as he was on his own at that point trying to do the right thing and they instead came up w. that hot mess. i am sure things happen very quickly out there for a about some support? Reality is they had enough time to run a real play with actual wide receivers instead of some desperation fake/gimmick play because they are trying to out coach Belichek..just sad and a big reason we dont make it to the promised land….horrible coaching…..excellent cheerleading

    I dont blame Ben for being pissed..he has no valid coaching support behind him…i think this will be his last year

  • Michael Conrad

    Steelers are a very good team with a coach who thinks his rhetoric will somehow inspire his players to be great and to some degree its worked. The little details are left to his coaches. Belicheck covers the little details over and over. Belicheck is a great coach . Tomlin is just a coach with good players.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Usually Roethlisberger gets on my last nerve running his mouth excessively talking when he really has nothing to say always trying too hard to look like a leader. But in this case I’m actually glad he ran his usual big mouth because I really want to know exactly who is responsible for that dumb play. I mean who exactly whose idea was that? Running a slant route directly into the teeth of the defense literally placing one solitary wide receiver in the midst of 4 Patriot DBs practically standing in a line abreast of one another made absolutely no sense whatsoever. But I’m not really saying anything because everyone knows this. But do we know who’s responsible? Everyone knows that was a dumb play. But the question is will Mike Tomlin, who fancies himself as a stand-up guy, will he man up and take responsibility and not hide behind coaches speak and cliches??!!

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Oh, and let’s not forget or at least Tomlin won’t let us forget that he’s not crying in his spilled milk. So while Mike Tomlin is not crying in spilled milk showing us how tough he is, meanwhile the better Coach the more detailed and prepared coach in Bill Belichick goes on to yet another easy road to the Super Bowl. All at our expense as usual. But Tomlin does talk a good game though. Just too bad he doesn’t manage or stay on the details as well as he talks.

  • Joe

    Agreed, what’s more relevant, more controllable, is everything that came after. They had plenty of time to come up with two plays. This is situational football. You practice it all the time, right?
    First Down
    Protection breaks down. Chung comes to the line of scrimmage. Instead of taking on the DE/LB, Villanueva blocks Chung inside so the DE/LB comes unblocked. BR chooses to get rid of it instead of extending the play. Where is the check down? Where is Bryant?
    2nd Down
    Agreed, not spiking the ball was the right decision but a fake spike to your smallest receiver on a slant into traffic???? That’s the best you can come up with! This was a great opportunity to use Bryant (fade or back shoulder in the end-zone). A much better option! Shame on the coaching staff for their inept play calling and shame on the QB for his poor decision making. During the pre-snap read there were 3 defenders in the area where Rogers was set. BR should know better! Throw the ball away and kick the FG. That was the right decision. The probability of error was too high!

  • snowseeker

    It may have been said already, but the throw to DHB just prior was also a massive brain-fart on Ben’s behalf. Throw the ball away and take another shot without having to race the clock.

  • Joe

    He is a cheerleader with good players. Not enough attention is paid to the little details. He and his coaching staff are responsible for the mental breakdowns, missed assignments, poor tackling and lack of discipline. You can be sure such crimes would not last this long in NE. You do your job otherwise you are benched, cut or traded. Accountability here is inconsistent at best. We get cliches like the standard is the standard. Swell.
    Gronkowski took over the last drive. What adjustment was made? Where was the help over the top? During the two point conversion he was out wide and still left in single coverage with Davis. Brilliant! He has the best seat in the house. Hey Mike, do want a beer to go with those nachos?

  • Joe

    Indeed. The sad thing is that it isn’t in his DNA. Poor decision making has been a problem all year.
    Case in point. Go back to the possession before NE takes over the lead. It’s 3rd down and 4 with a little over 2 minutes in the 4th quarter. He hits JSS on a crossing route short of the first down marker. It’s 4th down. Sadly, Rogers is wide open on the crossing route behind JSS. OUCH!

  • Joe

    81 was expected to block? With the exception of 17 and 7 no one else was moving. Furthermore, 17 was not open (because of the holding). Margin of error was too high. Right decision was to throw the ball away.

  • Joe

    Ding, Ding, Ding! Give this man a prize!!!
    17 is wide open on 3rd down but sadly the pass goes to 19 who is short of the marker.

  • Joe

    Ding, Ding, Ding. We got another winner!!!

  • Joe

    We have another winner!

  • joewalsh

    Ben played great, made a bonehead play at the end. What bothers me is how easy Brady drove down the field on winning drive solely using Gronk. We need to double that guy and take our chances with someone else.

  • Ichabod

    Thank you Alex. Now add to this gronk gets single coverage on 2 point and that whole drive really.
    What kind of coaching staff does these kinds of things?

  • Bill E

    After having a day to calm down the last 30 seconds of the game yesterday shows clearly why I feel Tomlin sucks as a coach. (Yes I said the “S” word.) While they are reviewing the JJ play Tomlin stands there like a fan and not a coach. They had 4-5 minutes during the replay a real coach has his coordinator and QB and they are going over what they are going to do if the play is overturned. No what happens he waits for the call and then screams noooooo, like the rest of the 70,000 fans in the stadium. Ben is on a knee waiting for the refs call. Who knows what Haley is doing. Then the O comes out with their finger up their butts with nothing but disorganized, frenetic confusion ensuing. His team rolls just like him, unprepared and undisciplined.

    The end of that game clearly shows the difference in these two teams – systematic, strategic, disciplined football vs. scattershot, emotional, undisciplined piece of crap football. This is why the Patriots OWN the Steelers. I find all of the above harder to handle than a blown call by the refs.

  • Dan

    He does know better, which is why that play was so excruciating.

  • Intense Camel

    I’m not so sure he does.

  • Dan

    Sometimes a WR doesn’t get open until after the QB has progressed to his next read. That’s how it happened when Antonio Brown threw his fit on the sideline in Baltimore, so it’s possible that the same thing happened on that third-down play you mentioned.

  • Dan

    On second thought, you’re absolutely correct. Ben Roethlisberger’s entire career is just a giant cosmic accident where he fell a__-backwards into all of his success, and he’s learned absolutely nothing about how to play QB in the 14 years since he’s entered the NFL.

    Christ, this fan base will get everything it deserves in 2020.

  • Intense Camel

    Look you can accentuate my criticisms all you want but it doesn’t make them irrelevant.. A 14 year HOF should know better than to force the ball in this type of situation, yet he did, as he has been known to do and continues to do and it continues to cost his team. He still hasn’t learned that sometimes you just have to throw the damn ball away.

  • Dan

    List the other times that he’s forced the ball with the game on the line and cost the team.

  • Steelerman24752

    Anyway someone can post the Heyward-Bey reception or review what was going on during the 5 minutes of the review. Seems like that play set up the fake spike. I remember seeing shots of Ben down on one knee and other players just standing around. Without a shadow of a doubt there should have been at least two plays called, but the fake spike should not have been one of them. Ben runs the no huddle all the time and with success, that was a horrible idea/call. It just doesn’t seem like we were prepared for what we would do if the TD was overturned.

  • Intense Camel

    I didn’t say he cost them games. I said he costs his team, difference. I’m not going to point at one bad play and say that’s why we lost, but it’s just too many unforced errors. Things he can avoid and should as a 14 year vet, but doesn’t.

  • Intense Camel

    The game is always on the line. That is irrelevant. Interceptions/turnovers cost the team in any situation. There are many that could have and should have been avoided by a QB of his caliber.

  • Axel

    In all fairness to Ben he did not have a clear throwing lane and stepped to his right and tried to make a play. Again he still should have thrown it low and inside if possible

  • Axel

    Even when douche bag gronk and pushed off on three of his receptions…….ridiculous

  • Joe

    Disagree. He sometimes locks on Brown the whole time or comes back to him because of the level of trust they share. Unfortunately, on that play in Baltimore, he didn’t. Btw, Bryant was open as well so If he was going through his progressions, how did he miss Bryant?
    He’s made mistakes and it’s happen too often this year and that’s what happened on Sunday. Those kinds of mistakes and missed opportunities do not go unpunished against NE.

  • Joe

    Spot on, Bill. Sadly, nothing will change because Rooney, like everyone else in LaLa Land, thinks he’s a coach. I suppose an 11-3 record is proof of that. Winning is everything so nothing to be concerned about here, right?
    Following the handling of the Baltimore game the week earlier, should we really be surprised? Nah, we haven’t hit rock bottom yet. When can we expect that to happen…in the Divisional playoff round, the AFC Championship game, the Superbowl? Oh joy!