The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly had some exciting finishes over the years. Off the top of my head, they have had last-minute touchdowns in 2015 against the San Diego Chargers, in 2016 against the Baltimore Ravens, and twice this year against the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars. They looked to have one against the New England Patriots last year, but we know how that went.
On Sunday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scored the go-ahead touchdown starting with eight seconds to play on first and goal from the one-yard line. He talked us through that play on his radio show yesterday:
“The play was designed first and foremost for AB in the flat, so kind of a little roll out, and he was covered. Then the section option is Vance on a little shovel, and the end really kind of let me go and it was almost like he knew what was coming. From there you don’t really have another option except run it, and there was kind of a little bit of a crease and I saw the end zone. I knew we had a timeout and we could afford to run it, so I just said I’m gonna try and get there.”
Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about whether or not he would have still gone for the win had Roethlisberger been tackled before crossing the goal line as part of his pre-game press conference. “We’ll never know, will we?”, he responded to laughter. “I might be in that situation again”.
It somewhat recalls the aforementioned Patriots game from a year ago. After the officials wiped out a would-be go-ahead touchdown by Jesse James from 10 yards out, the Steelers seemed to be in disagreement on what to do next and did not have enough plays called to deal with the variables in the situation.
It was perhaps that situations that Tomlin was obliquely alluding to when he later added after is aforementioned comments, “just know that we were duly prepared for whatever”. Or perhaps that’s a connection that I’m making myself. Either way, I hope that they actually were prepared for whatever.
On Sunday after the game, Roethlisberger was asked the same question about what would have happened had he not gotten in. While he said that the question was above his pay grade, he said that he would have played for the win if it were up to him.