The Pittsburgh Steelers played their 250th game under head coach Mike Tomlin today. It resulted in just their third win in the ninth game of his 16th season, but it was more historic than that. It also marked his first win as a head coach over the New Orleans Saints. It was the last team, aside from his own, that he hadn’t beaten. He has now defeated every team as the Steelers’ head coach.
This was only the fourth game the Steelers have played against New Orleans since Tomlin took over as head coach, as a non-conference opponent. They lost 20-10 back in 2010 during the year in which they reached the Super Bowl, 35-32 in 2014, and 31-28 in 2018.
It was also Tomlin’s 157th career win. It doesn’t move him up the all-time wins list, but it brings him one behind Bud Grant and Pete Carroll for 17th place all-time. He has typically done well against the NFC, yet a win over the Saints had eluded him up until now.
The last two games against New Orleans were perhaps the more memorable. The 2014 game took place on Hallow’s Eve and saw the Steelers trying to come back in the fourth quarter down by 15. They got 17, but not without a Saints touchdown mixed in. Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to Antonio Brown in the final three minutes.
The 2018 game featured an interception thrown by Taysom Hill, as well as one of the most egregiously bad defensive pass interference penalties called against Joe Haden in the end zone, which led to a Saints score. Late in the game, he was flagged for another DPI on fourth down, which led to the game-winning score.
The latter game took place on the road, the Hallow’s Eve game at home in Heinz Field. In this one, finally, they controlled the game, never losing at any point. They scored the first 10 points before the Saints tied it going into the half, but the defense blanked New Orleans in the second and the offense, aided by takeaways, put up another 10 for a rare victory.