While the “Immaculate Extension” made by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to score the late go-ahead touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens will be talked about for several years moving forward, the talk about what might have transpired had he not scored continues to increase.
During his Tuesday interview on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked if he thought the offense would have been able to get another play off before time expired had Brown been stopped short of the goal line.
“Does it matter?” Roethlisberger replied. “You can ‘what if?’ every single play of a football game can’t you? I mean, what if he would have caught it, if he [another player] would have caught it, what if you don’t throw the interception…I mean, you can ‘what if?’ anything. It’s funny, watching SportsCenter or hearing you guys or other people, the talking heads talk about ‘well what if? They wouldn’t have been able to do this, they wouldn’t have’…it really doesn’t matter. That’s what should be talked about it, it doesn’t matter.”
While that’s the right response by Roethlisberger, he would eventually reveal during his interview what the next play might have been had Brown not scored when describing the scoring play itself.
“Probably wasn’t the best play call, but you know what, the thought is if it’s not there you throw it away, if there is something there, you make a play,” said Roethlisberger. “Well, you throw the ball to AB because he’s open right away and everyone was talking about, ‘Well, you wouldn’t have had enough time with nine seconds to run up, spike it and get the field goal team.’ We wouldn’t have done that anyway. We would have ran up and ran a quarterback sneak and that takes less time.
“With as close as everybody was, like the [offensive] line’s all right there, no one’s on the ground, you know I’m saying no linemen are on the ground, it’s not like it’s a run play or something. We’re coming down, we could have lined up and ran a quarterback sneak and I like our chances of getting in, but like I said, it doesn’t matter.”
So, was a quarterback sneak really on tap had Brown not scored? During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t say and had some fun with it.
“You know we’ll never know will we,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin was then asked if Brown was supposed to run his route a yard deeper than he did to ensure that he was in the end zone when he caught the football.
“He was supposed to score, which is what he did,” Tomlin quipped. “It will be good water machine talk moving forward which is part of classic-type performances, which is probably what makes them what they are.”
Tomlin was also asked Tuesday if there was a teaching moment related to that play and especially had Brown not ultimately scored.
“The teachable moment is in the most adverse circumstances is you go with what you know and what you’re comfortable with and all other variables aside, that’s a high, high frequency play for us in that area of the field thrown to a guy that we’ve got great confidence in,” said Tomlin.
“And so I’m not going to second guess. That’s what it is that we did. We felt comfortable with that play being able to work regardless of what our opponent did because we’ve got that level of comfort in that play, that level of understanding in that play and that level of comfort in the men that were called on specifically to execute that play.”
There really shouldn’t be any second-guessing related to the play even though you know that’s exactly what would still be happening for the next month had Brown been stopped short of a touchdown and the clock ultimately expired. He scored and the Steelers won and that’s all that really matters.