The Pittsburgh Steelers are a very inconsistent team, and nothing showed this more than the team rebounding from losses to the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders with a huge home win vs. the New England Patriots in Week 15. However, the inconsistencies continued with an absolutely heart-breaking defeat to the Saints in Week 16. Now, the Steelers don’t control their own destiny, but are relying on the help of the Browns — the Cleveland Browns.
Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how surprisingly Mike Tomlin doesn’t want the replay system to expand to that of judgement calls by officials. This all after his team’s chances of winning last Sunday were severely hampered by questionable calls by the officials.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Upon further review, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin no longer thinks Drew Brees’ pass was tipped with 1 minute, 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter Sunday, which would have negated a pass-interference call on cornerback Joe Haden.
NFL officials reviewed the play and determined the pass was not tipped even though a television replay appeared to show defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt slightly altered the direction of the pass after it left Brees’ hand.
Asked Tuesday at his weekly press conference if he believed the pass was tipped, he responded, “I don’t. I also don’t believe it was DPI (defensive pass interference).”
When he met with the media after the game, Tomlin thought the pass was deflected.
“But I didn’t have the courtesy of a replay,” Tomlin said Sunday. “We were asking for clarity on it, but you know that things start moving fast in those moments.”
Inside the final two minutes, all replays are initiated at Art McNally GameDay Central in New York. Tomlin was asked if coaches should want more control over whether a play is challenged after the two-minute warning.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I think we have enough components to get things right inside two minutes.”
The play was a contributing factor in the Steelers’ 31-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints that dropped them into second place in the AFC North and jeopardized their playoff hopes.
The Saints, trailing 28-24, faced a fourth-and-2 at the Steelers 26 when Brees’ pass for wide receiver Michael Thomas was broken up by Haden. After the ball hit the turf, Haden was called for pass interference. The drive continued, and the Saints scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 left to play.
Although he disagreed with the call against Haden — the second one charged to the veteran cornerback in the game — Tomlin doesn’t want to see instant replay expanded to include pass-interference penalties.
“I have a firm position on that,” Tomlin said. “I don’t (want it changed).”
“I just worry about the entertainment component of it and what that might do for fans and the viewership, what that might look like,” he said. “Given some of the things that have happened, I’m sure it will be up for debate — as it always is and has been in recent years because of the technology and the amount of coverage our game gets at this level, not only on Sundays but seven days a week.
“It allots for that type of scrutiny and review. It’s just part of our business today. I think we all understand that. I think we all are ready to have that debate every year. I don’t think we are ever moving away from that debate.”
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Mike Tomlin won’t be scoreboard watching Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff fate is determined as much by what happens in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium as what transpires at Heinz Field.
The Steelers need to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular-season finale and the Cleveland Browns to get a road win against the Baltimore Ravens. Both games will be contested at 4:25 p.m.
“We just focus on things that are within our control and from that perspective, it’s no different than any other week,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference.”. There are things going on in other stadiums that could affect us, but there are things going on in other stadiums every weekend that could affect our positioning.
“We better focus on the task at hand, and the things that are within our control, and that’s our preparation and play as we push into Heinz Field on Sunday. That will be the message.”
The Steelers have won seven in a row against Cincinnati and 10 of the past 11 meetings. The Bengals will limp into the finale with a 6-9 record and minus several starters, including quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.
The Steelers are relatively healthy. Tomlin said safety Sean Davis has a quad injury and inside linebacker Vince Williams has an injured toe.
“His availability is in question,” Tomlin said about Williams. “Obviously, we’ll watch him throughout the course of the week.”
Running back James Conner has missed three consecutive games with a high ankle sprain, but Tomlin hasn’t ruled him out from playing against the Bengals.
“I thought his participation was on the upswing at the end of last week with his ankle,” Tomlin said. “We’ll be watching him closely and see if he can be a positive contributor to our efforts this week.”
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
This is not what the Festivus season is supposed to be about!
Well, aside from the “Airing of Grievances,” of course. So, let’s dive right in. Because after the way that Steelers loss in New Orleans went down ...
... I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!
I hated the officiating. The willy-nilly flagging of pass-interference penalties was a dreadful look for the NFL.
The fumbles by Stevan Ridley and JuJu Smith-Schuster were costly. Having Ridley in the game was even worse. The defense at the end of the second quarter was a train wreck. The Steelers should have challenged Michael Thomas’ incompletion after the hit from Sean Davis.
But there is only one grievance on which I want to focus this week.
THE FAKE PUNT!
Way too many people are working way too hard to defend this decision by Mike Tomlin. It was terrible. Period.
Winning 28-24 with four minutes, 11 seconds left, the Steelers ran a fake punt from their own 42 when facing a 4th and 5.
No. It’s not “one of these situations where if it works out, he’s genius.”
It’s “one of these situations where if it works out, it worked out despite how dumb of a decision it was.”
If you drink too much eggnog at your holiday party, and you drive home drunk, it’s not a good decision just because you save $20 on an Uber.
The result doesn’t justify the decision. Especially because the logic was incredibly flawed.
Here was Tomlin’s explanation.
”I just wanted to be aggressive,” Tomlin said. “I liked the play. The concept. I thought we had a chance to get it. But I thought where the game was — the time left — that if we didn’t stop them, we’d have an opportunity to have the ball last. And we did.”
Gosh. Sure sounds like “Mr. I Don’t Live in My Fears” was afraid his defense would blow a lead if they punted the ball back, huh?