Mike Tomlin on late field goal: Those are the calculated risks you take

Getty Images

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin faced questions about a couple of fourth down calls after losing 39-30 to the Seahawks on Sunday, including his decision to kick a field goal that cut Seattle’s lead to 32-30 with three minutes left to play in the game.

The Steelers were inside the five-yard-line without the ability to get a first down when Tomlin sent kicker Chris Boswell into the game and pulled his offense off the field. The Seahawks would score on an 80-yard catch and run by Doug Baldwin and the Steelers’ last-ditch efforts were commanded by Landry Jones, who entered the game when Ben Roethlisberger exited for the concussion protocol.

Some wondered after the game if Roethlisberger’s injury factored into Tomlin’s decision. It hadn’t been reported at that point, though, and Tomlin confirmed his decision to kick a field goal wasn’t fueled by the chance to have Jones try to lead a game-winning drive.

“No it did not.  We needed to get a stop,” Tomlin said. “I felt confident in our ability to do it. Obviously we didn’t. But those are calculated risks you take during football games. It was a five-point game. Just wanted the lead, and give those guys an opportunity to take the points and maybe win.”

Given the play of the defense all game, banking on them in that spot was sure to be second-guessed when they predictably broke down. So was Tomlin’s decision to open the second quarter with a fake field goal that had Jones take the place of usual holder Jordan Berry and saw the Steelers shift into an offensive formation on fourth-and-two.

The Seahawks weren’t fooled, but the Steelers ran the play anyway and Jones was picked off. That meant no points for them and Jeremy Lane’s long return set up the first Seattle touchdown of the afternoon, a turn of events that Tomlin said he owned and took responsibility for without delving into what he saw that made the play seem so much more appealing than kicking a field goal or leaving the offense on the field.

All the second guessing in the world won’t change the fact that the Steelers defense gave up 19 points in the fourth quarter in a performance that likely would have made any Tomlin decisions moot as long as Seattle got a chance with the ball before time expired.

26 responses to “Mike Tomlin on late field goal: Those are the calculated risks you take

  1. Brilliant. Decides to be aggressive and go for 2 when they’re leading 16-14 in the 1st half, but then of course kicks a field goal trailing by 5 with 3 minutes left.

    Maybe he’s just not very good at math?

  2. Possibly the Steelers worst defensive performance this year by the DBs. Seattle WR’s were wide open the entire game. Blake looked like he was never taught how to properly tackle somebody, he was pathetic the entire game. Is Boykin that terrible that he doesn’t get a chance to play? This was yet another winnable game that got away.

  3. Tomlin always says he doesn’t live in his fears but what reality is he living in. He is the worst in game manager in Steelers history and prior to Chuck Noll we had some real doosies…step away from the podium Mike we’ve heard enough.

  4. As soon as Ben ran with the ball towards the end zone on that 3rd down late in the 4th quarter, I knew the game was over. There was no way he was going to reach the end zone, and of course the clock would keep ticking as he got tackled. Sure enough they wasted nearly a minute between the start of that play and the field goal. Terrible call by Haley to go for the FG, there was no chance they’d stop the Seaducks and get the ball back with enough time to kick another.

  5. Calculated risk uh…Well you don’t bring in your QB to hold and think you can try a fake field goal. You think Seattle is going to be fooled by that?
    So you kick a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and goal from the 3, which still leaves you down by 2. Ok you have 2 timeouts and the two minute warning. Time to stop them and get the ball back. Really? With the worst secondary in the NFL and the way the defense was playing, leaving receivers wide open and you are relying on them? Yeah that’s on you Tomlin and it was stupid!
    I can’t remember who said it but, every time you kick a field goal you are that much closer to loosing. You gain 3 points but give up 4.
    I’m a die hard Steeler fan, but not that fond of Tomlin.

  6. seems like Tomlin fancies himself some kind of Zen-master professional football coach, everything’s off kilter with this guy. Kicks when they shouldn’t, doesn’t when they should, constantly playing games with the injury reports, and runs out on the field to trip players when they are running for a touchdown. what a goof.

  7. Calculated risks. You go for it at the end and you probably win the game. You don’t put the ball in the defensive teams hand when they didn’t play very well in the 4th quarter. Tomlin outcoaches his self to many times. The fake field goal was a terrible call. The steelers piled up 500 yds of offense and 30 points. This game should have been a win for the steelers.

  8. Steelers couldn’t stop them for most of the game, but they were going to stop them in the last three minutes? Can’t cover, can’t rush the quarterback and cannot tackle equals a loss on the road.

  9. This “Coach”? Has cost this team at least two games with poor decision making. See Ravens game and this game. How the Rooneys keep him around is unbelievable.

  10. I wish they would stop blitzing and rushing, and give more support to the miserable secondary. They never get to the QB anyway!

  11. This game was marred by bad officiating and bad coaching. Tomlin always has an excuse, I guess that’s why he still has a job.The Rooney’s ought to be ashamed to let the best quarterback they’ve had since Bradshaw go without a defense good enough to compliment his offense.Tomlin is an ego maniac, a bro , and rides on the teams coat tail .Anyone else would have benched #41 Blake long ago, no excuse ,he’s terrible !

  12. Here’s what doesn’t make any sense. Tomlin was aggresive during the whole game, including that stupid fake field goal. That’s when Tomlin should’ve kicked the field goal. Then when it’s time to be aggressive, he goes conservative. I mean what type of coach does he want to be?

  13. Must admit I’m not a big fan of trick plays. It’s fun when they work (SBXL). But when it’s obvious to me, the game announcers, and the defense that you’re not kicking, it’s not much of a trick.

    I’ve always liked Tomlin, but he’s missing a common sense chip. Ben’s playing the best ball of his career, but still throws picks at the worst possible time. And boy do I miss Rod Woodson and Troy.

  14. Meh. There were still, what, like 4-5 minutes left in the game? I’ve seen worse decisions – like when that dope Dan Quinn kicked a field goal from the 1-yd line when Atlanta was down by like 5 points to the 49ers with about 2 minutes left in the game.

  15. I think the Steelers can still make the playoffs, if they finish with a better record than the Jets, Chiefs, and Texans. Gonna be tuff though.
    Agree Deb! Rod and Troy back there was nice!

  16. The way Tomlin was pumping his chest and celebrating like he won the SB after the successful 2pt conversion in the first half, I’m surprised he didn’t insert himself as the holder on the field goal and try to run another fake, with him throwing the ball to himself. Take your cliche’s and bad coaching and get the hell outta here.

  17. “We are hands down the best football team in the league.”
    Did you notice the secondary? Specifically Blake?

    Are you sure you don’t want to rephrase that comment?

  18. I thought Tomlin had made some smartly aggressive calls up to that point. (The fake FG play that went horribly awry seemed more like a product of poor execution than anything else.) Then, with the game on the line, he went inexplicably conservative. If I remember right, they kicked the FG from the Hawks’ 3 yard line–basically a two-point conversion. The Steelers currently lead the league in two-point attempts BY FAR and have converted 66% of them; the offense had been virtually unstoppable all day. On the flip side, if they fail to convert from the 3, it’s still a one-score game, and they have the Hawks pinned back deep in their own territory with three minutes on the clock and two timeouts.

    Considering the fact that the Steelers’ pass defense had been nonexistent all day, it was actually RISKIER to take the easy 3 pts. and hope for a stop.

    -Hawk fan.

  19. After 9 years with this coach, Steelers Go from Bad to Worse… for him the word risk is to go for a field goal instead of a touchdown when you lose 27-32

  20. Don’t think Rooneys will dump Tomlin as it suggests failure on their part, but I do think he is part of the problem. That said, be careful what you wish for . . . next man up may be Todd Haley (retching sounds).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.