The Steelers were faced with a decision after a short pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey left them on the Patriots’ seven-yard-line with no timeouts and seconds ticking off the clock.
Ben Roethlisberger chose to fake a spike and try a slant to Eli Rogers over the middle of the field that was deflected by Patriots corner Eric Rowe into safety Duron Harmon‘s hands. The interception ended Pittsburgh’s hopes of winning the game or sending it to overtime, but coach Mike Tomlin said he had no problem with Roethlisberger making the play instead of something that might have kept a game-tying field goal in the equation.
“No. We play and we play to win,” Tomlin said at his postgame press conference.
The interception came a couple of plays after the Steelers thought they had the game won on a 10-yard catch by tight end Jesse James that was subsequently overturned when officials found James did not control the ball all the way through hitting the ground in the end zone.
It’s a call we’ve seen before and it’s one that is usually greeted with derision despite following the league’s rule as written. That derision will certainly be in effect in Pittsburgh this Sunday night, although some may save some space for the decision-making that followed it.