There were a few interesting decisions made Sunday by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in the 38-31 win over the Green Bay Packers, but after the game, he stood by his call to not take a knee on the final offensive possession in an effort to run off clock time and end the game with a Shaun Suisham field goal.
“I am not into that,” said Tomlin during his post game press conference. “We had the opportunity to put the ball in the end zone. In weather conditions like that anything can happen. The snapper could roll the ball back, the ball could go through the snappers hands, etc. Given the opportunity to score, we’re going to score. We felt comfortable putting our defense on the field and winning.”
Following the encroachment penalty on Packers linebacker Nick Perry prior to the 27-yard field goal attempt by Suisham with 1:35 left in the game, running back Le’Veon Bell went off left tackle for four yards. The Packers were then forced to take their final timeout with 1:28 left. Instead of taking a knee twice and running the clock down under ten seconds, and attempting a chip shot field goal for the win, Bell was run up the middle again and the Packers defense allowed him to score an easy touchdown.
The touchdown put the Steelers up seven points, but it also gave the Packers 1:25 worth of clock time to use to tie the game against a defense that had struggled for most of the game. The Packers returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards, which in turn set their offense up in an ideal situation. Thanks to poor clock management on the Packers part and an incomplete pass to the end zone on the game’s final play, the Steelers held on for the win.
What’s curious is that Tomlin was going to trust Suisham and company to kick on fourth down had Perry not been penalized for encroachment. In the end, the Steelers got four more points, but were only able to run 10 seconds of time off the clock. Had the Packers won the game, this would’ve gone down as Tomlin’s biggest blunder of the year and one that knocked them out of playoff contention.