A lot has been made about the decision made Sunday by the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff to make sure that wide receiver Antonio Brown had one final shot to extend his NFL record streak of games with at least five catches and 50 yards receiving to 21 with two minutes left in the game.
During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to explain his decision to allow a screen pass to be thrown to Brown in order for him to extend his record in lieu of just running out the clock with kneel downs while only leading the Jacksonville Jaguars by eight points.
“Because he’s got a significant record that kind of exemplifies what he is doing in his career and we want to support him that,” explained Tomlin. “Obviously, we don’t spent a lot of time thinking about that during the course of a work week or a game. It came up during a discussion of a two minute. We had a low-risk play that had an opportunity to get the ball in his hands and wanted to assist him in that and I think that guys were just as excited about doing that for him as he was.”
Tomlin was then asked who makes the coaching staff aware during games of statistical situations such as Brown’s.
“Nobody really does,” said Tomlin. “That’s not on our agenda. That’s such a minute sidebar in terms of what we’re trying to do in stadiums. If it happens to come up and is brought up informally in the waning moments, and we get an opportunity to do something like that, we will. That’s no different than how we functioned in the past with Hines [Ward] and some of the interesting things that he had going on that represented his longevity and high level of play that he used to have.”
Tomlin was then told that some people might see his decision to get Brown his record with the team only having an eight point lead and the game in hand as an act of putting individuals before the rest of the team.
“I don’t care to be honest with you. I really don’t,” said Tomlin.
Finally, the Steelers head coach was asked if Brown’s record was significant enough to warrant throwing to him again on the next play had Brown dropped the first pass.
“It’s not that significant, no,” he said.
While the dump-off pass to Brown was indeed a low-risk play, it still had risk involved. Brown could’ve fumbled or tipped the ball up and had it intercepted. Remember, this still was a one possession game and there were two minutes left in the game as well.
Tomlin, in my opinion, deserves any and all criticism that he gets for allowing such a play to be run. Besides, Brown already had the record and while that record is a nice accomplishment, it really isn’t all that significant.
After hearing Tomlin’s comments, has your stance on this topic changed at all?