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fordfixer
12-21-2009, 02:25 AM
Harris: Tomlin walks fine line with his call

By John Harris, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 21, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 58774.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_658774.html)

What the heck was Mike Tomlin thinking when he ordered an onside kick with the Steelers leading 30-28 late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Green Bay?

Answer: He wasn't thinking. He was coaching from the seat of his pants.

"I was just trying to win a football game," Tomlin said after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pulled his coach's fat out of the fire with the 19-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to rookie Mike Wallace on the final play of the game.

Without Roethlisberger's and Wallace's heroics being directly responsible for the Steelers' incredible 37-36 victory over the Packers at Heinz Field, Tomlin's approval rating this morning would be lower than Pirates manager John Russell's.

Tomlin would be the object of scorn and ridicule far worse than anything he experienced during the Steelers' five-game losing streak that mercifully ended under the cloak of early-evening darkness.

Some quick-on-the-trigger critics might have initiated a petition for Tomlin to be fired if the Steelers had lost a game they led 24-14 in the third quarter.

Ask Tomlin if he cares what you or I think about his coaching decisions.

"I don't live in my fear," Tomlin said. "I just play to win, and I don't worry about being judged."

If you say so, coach.

Just know this: Tomlin, a defensive coach, didn't trust his defense against Green Bay's potent attack.

He didn't care whose feelings he hurt if it meant siding with his offense over his defense.

Tomlin believed his offense gave the Steelers the best chance to win.

No offense taken, said defensive co-captain James Farrior.

"The way things have been going around here, that wasn't surprising to me," Farrior said of the failed onside kick. "Our defense has been playing bad these last five weeks. We've been giving it up in the fourth quarter, so you've got to try something different."

Tomlin's players said they loved his gambling spirit, the fact that he was willing to risk everything based on a hunch at that particular moment in the game.

"I honestly think it was a great play," wide receiver Santonio Holmes said. "It would have been the greatest call by a coach to sneak an onside kick.''

Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said it reminded him of when New England coach Bill Belichick gambled earlier this season against Indianapolis on fourth-and-short deep in Patriots territory rather than punting.

Belichick's gamble failed when running back Kevin Faulk couldn't hold Tom Brady's pass and Indianapolis took over on downs. Peyton Manning led the Colts to the winning touchdown.

"If we had gotten the ball, it would have been a great call," Woodley said.

In leading his team to victory, Tomlin stole a page from the coaching handbook utilized by his counterparts in Indianapolis and New Orelans.

The Steelers beat Green Bay the way the Colts and Saints are winning this season - by letting their respective offenses do it:

In other words, last team with the ball wins.

"I wanted the ball," Tomlin said. "We hadn't stopped them in the second half, and they hadn't stopped us. I figured if they're working on a short field and they happened to score, we'd have appropriate time to drive down the field, which is kind of how the game unfolded."

There's a fine line between brilliance and stupidity, and Tomlin nearly crossed over to the dark side.

Almost, but not quite.

The Steelers are back in the playoff race - barely - and it looks like Tomlin got his mojo back just in time.

Either that, or he's the luckiest coach in the NFL.

DukieBoy
12-21-2009, 08:32 AM
See this article

http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/12 ... nside.html (http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/12/should-steelers-have-kicked-onside.html)

Oviedo
12-21-2009, 08:53 AM
It was a risk but a smart risk given thsat our secondary hadn't stopped Rodgers all day. It was less than a yard from being perfectly executed.

I have no issue with the coach making a call like that as opposed to playing it safe. It was no more risky than countnting on our special teams not to give up a 90 yard kick off return.

calmkiller
12-21-2009, 11:27 AM
I really don't understand why everyone is making such a big deal about it. Our defense gave up 22 points in the 4th quarter AGAIN. They were going to score. Everyone knew the defense wasn't going to stop them. All kicking it long would do is allow them to run the clock out and we get the ball back with 5 seconds on the clock again. We win and everyone is still bitching. Seriously people....

msp26505
12-21-2009, 11:38 AM
Harris: Tomlin walks fine line with his call

By John Harris, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 21, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 58774.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_658774.html)

What the heck was Mike Tomlin thinking when he ordered an onside kick with the Steelers leading 30-28 late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Green Bay?

Answer: He wasn't thinking. He was coaching from the seat of his pants.

"I was just trying to win a football game," Tomlin said after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pulled his coach's fat out of the fire with the 19-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to rookie Mike Wallace on the final play of the game.

Without Roethlisberger's and Wallace's heroics being directly responsible for the Steelers' incredible 37-36 victory over the Packers at Heinz Field, Tomlin's approval rating this morning would be lower than Pirates manager John Russell's.

Tomlin would be the object of scorn and ridicule far worse than anything he experienced during the Steelers' five-game losing streak that mercifully ended under the cloak of early-evening darkness.

Some quick-on-the-trigger critics might have initiated a petition for Tomlin to be fired if the Steelers had lost a game they led 24-14 in the third quarter.

Ask Tomlin if he cares what you or I think about his coaching decisions.

"I don't live in my fear," Tomlin said. "I just play to win, and I don't worry about being judged."

If you say so, coach.

Just know this: Tomlin, a defensive coach, didn't trust his defense against Green Bay's potent attack.

He didn't care whose feelings he hurt if it meant siding with his offense over his defense.

Tomlin believed his offense gave the Steelers the best chance to win.

No offense taken, said defensive co-captain James Farrior.

"The way things have been going around here, that wasn't surprising to me," Farrior said of the failed onside kick. "Our defense has been playing bad these last five weeks. We've been giving it up in the fourth quarter, so you've got to try something different."

Tomlin's players said they loved his gambling spirit, the fact that he was willing to risk everything based on a hunch at that particular moment in the game.

"I honestly think it was a great play," wide receiver Santonio Holmes said. "It would have been the greatest call by a coach to sneak an onside kick.''

Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said it reminded him of when New England coach Bill Belichick gambled earlier this season against Indianapolis on fourth-and-short deep in Patriots territory rather than punting.

Belichick's gamble failed when running back Kevin Faulk couldn't hold Tom Brady's pass and Indianapolis took over on downs. Peyton Manning led the Colts to the winning touchdown.

"If we had gotten the ball, it would have been a great call," Woodley said.

In leading his team to victory, Tomlin stole a page from the coaching handbook utilized by his counterparts in Indianapolis and New Orelans.

The Steelers beat Green Bay the way the Colts and Saints are winning this season - by letting their respective offenses do it:

In other words, last team with the ball wins.

"I wanted the ball," Tomlin said. "We hadn't stopped them in the second half, and they hadn't stopped us. I figured if they're working on a short field and they happened to score, we'd have appropriate time to drive down the field, which is kind of how the game unfolded."

There's a fine line between brilliance and stupidity, and Tomlin nearly crossed over to the dark side.

Almost, but not quite.

The Steelers are back in the playoff race - barely - and it looks like Tomlin got his mojo back just in time.

Either that, or he's the luckiest coach in the NFL.

Up yours John Harris.

He wasn't "coaching from the seat of his pants" and he isn't "the luckiest coach in the NFL".

It was a calculated move based on repeated failures of the defense over the last five weeks (and again during this game) in combination with a trust in his offense that had performed well all game...not to mention a history of bad special teams play forever under Ligashesky.

And while poorly executed, it was well-conceived, and it was the ONLY way the Steelers win that game and live to see another day.

There are a lot of people (writers, commentators, and fans alike) who consider themselves knowledgeable who can't help themselves from making the ridiculous argument that "you don't give them a short field".

All a long field does is give them more opportunity to run out the clock before putting the stake in the Steelers hearts.

Flasteel
12-21-2009, 11:49 AM
Are the media and all of these former players (such as Trent Dilfer) really this stupid? It was a brilliant call and a necessary call regardless of the outcome.

NWNewell
12-21-2009, 11:57 AM
Up yours John Harris.

He wasn't "coaching from the seat of his pants" and he isn't "the luckiest coach in the NFL".

It was a calculated move based on repeated failures of the defense over the last five weeks (and again during this game) in combination with a trust in his offense that had performed well all game...not to mention a history of bad special teams play forever under Ligashesky.

And while poorly executed, it was well-conceived, and it was the ONLY way the Steelers win that game and live to see another day.

There are a lot of people (writers, commentators, and fans alike) who consider themselves knowledgeable who can't help themselves from making the ridiculous argument that "you don't give them a short field".

All a long field does is give them more opportunity to run out the clock before putting the stake in the Steelers hearts.


I agree, as I said in another post. I totally understood his logic. It was a calculated risk that many don't comprehend. But having said that, I must stay I didn't agree with it.

But then again, the way the defense has played all year in the 4th and the numbers GB was putting up, I have to say, I too would have been deeply afraid that they run time off the clock as the march down the field for a game winning FG, or TD. And when you compare that to the way our offense has played and the fact that Ben excels as the no-huddle/2 minute drill. I can understand that his thought is: 1. We may recover the onside kick. 2. If we don't, we may hold them to 3 and out or a long FG. 3. If they score, they likely score quickly and may only get a FG. 4. Even if they do get a TD, we still have 2 minutes to try and counter instead them likely marching down the field and scoring at least a FG with only seconds left on the clock.

It's one of those hero/goat moves and I give him much respect for having the balls to make it.

Also, if Belichick made this call and got the same results, the media would simply call it another great move by the "genius". I think we should give Tomlin at least some of the same benefit.

Sadly, it does show just how low our defense has sunk..... :(