Despite the Pittsburgh Steelers putting up 42 points against a very tough Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense, the offense still had several miscues that, in part, cost them the game. Twice, the Steelers went for it on 4th and 1. Twice, they failed. Neither time did Ben Roethlisberger sneak it. One was a toss to Le’Veon Bell, a disastrous loss of four, and the other playaciton that fell incomplete to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
So the obvious question after the game was: why no sneak? Roethlisberger didn’t offer much of an answer. “It’s over my head,” he said, per this tweet from the NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Clearly, a deflection to the coaching staff and Todd Haley.
The fact the Steelers didn’t sneak it may be a disappointment but hardly a surprise. The sneak has been taken out of the playbook and hasn’t been run since 2015. Which is odd considering how successful Pittsburgh is at it. Here’s a great nugget from NFL Research.
That’s right. Ben is 18/19 on career sneaks, even better than Tom Brady, widely regarded as the league’s best at them.
In Pittsburgh’s mind, their goal is to protect Roethlisberger from taking the beating of a sneak. That, clearly, is a debatable mindset, especially in a playoff game. That’s taking the all out of Ben’s hands, who has said he is all for running them. Here’s what he told Jeremy Fowler when this issue came up in Week 3’s loss to the Chicago Bears.
Tomlin and Haley have pulled the plug on QB sneaks. And in doing so, pulled the plug on their 2017 season.