Tomlin Says He Called Run-Pass Option Play On 3rd Down Late In Loss To Buccaneers

With the Pittsburgh Steelers needing just five yards on third down and five to put away the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 1:35 left in the game, the offense ran a run-pass packaged play that they had already run several other times during the game. The play resulted in a two-yard loss by running back Le’Veon Bell and on Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about it during his weekly press conference.

“I gave him that play to run,” said Tomlin when he was asked about the conversation that took place between him and offensive coordinator Todd Haley prior to the play.

Tomlin was then asked why quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t throw on that play instead.

“That play is a run-pass option and we had actually gone to that concept several times in the game, really with success whether we ran it or passed it. We had a 19-yarder to Heath [Miller] off of that same concept a few series earlier. I think Le’Veon reeled off a 16-yard run and a 13-yard run earlier off that same concept. But I really felt good about that play and particularly in that circumstance, because it was a run-pass option. And it gave us an opportunity to be successful regardless of what they did.

So why didn’t the run work?

“It all boils down to execution, really when you look at it and we didn’t execute the play correctly,” said Tomlin. “So whether we ran it or passed it, if you don’t execute it, you’re not going to have an opportunity for success.

“They [Buccaneers] executed in that circumstance, we didn’t and obviously we ended up punting the football unsuccessfully.”

Tomlin would go on to say again that he felt comfortable with that play-call because it was a run-pass option. He was, however, asked later what it was that the Buccaneers showed defensively that led to Roethlisberger handing the ball off to Bell instead of throwing it on that play.

“They were in man-to-man, one-on-one outside, they had a free safety in the middle of the field. Ben had an opportunity to control the end away from the handoff with his play fake, so essentially we had five on five blocking plus the ball carrier and usually you like those odds.”

As you can see in the break down that I did Monday of that packaged play, the Buccaneers easily beat those odds.

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