Column: Mike Tomlin Chose To Live In His Fears Sunday With His “Calculated Risk”

For a head coach who claims he never lives in his fears, Pittsburgh Steelers sideline boss Mike Tomlin sure seemed to do just that late in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

With the Steelers trailing the Seahawks 32-27 with 3:02 left in the game, Tomlin chose to kick a field goal instead of letting his offense attempt to take the lead on 4th down from the 3-yard-line.

Had the Steelers defense showed during the Seahawks previous two offensive possessions that they could prevent quarterback Russell Wilson from ripping them apart through the air, perhaps I could then understand Tomlin’s decision to kick a field goal that late in the game.

Remember, this is a head coach who always seems to like to go for two after touchdowns and one who has also allowed his offense to stay on the field on fourth downs a total of 9 times so far this season entering Sunday’s game. This wasn’t fourth and goal from 6 or 7 yard-line mind you, it was from the 3, which is only one yard more than a two-point conversion.

Additionally, this is a head coach who chose to run a fake field goal earlier in the game that resulted in Landry Jones being intercepted by Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane on a pass intended for all people, tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

“I called a fake field goal that was unsuccessful. I own that,” said Tomlin after the game.

Tomlin went on to say that his decision to kick the late field goal had nothing to do with the health of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who may have suffered a concussion due to a hit from Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett earlier in that drive.

“We just need to get a stop,” Tomlin said when continuing to explain his decision to kick the field goal. “I felt comfortable with our ability to do it. Obviously we didn’t, but it was a calculated risk you take during football games. It was a five-point game at that point and just wanted to give the guys an opportunity to take the points and maybe win it.”

Actually, a calculated risk in that situation would have been to let his offense go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal. Had they failed to score on that play, at least the Seahawks offense would’ve been pinned deep in their own end with Tomlin still having two timeouts at his disposal. His trust would’ve still been in his defense at that point and had the unit responded with a three and out, his offense likely would’ve had one last shot to win the game with a touchdown with more than enough time left on the clock.

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