I’ve always been a supporter of Mike Tomlin and I’ve tried to defend him at nearly every turn but I can’t anymore. From drafting decisions to personnel decisions to on-field decisions, I can’t do it any longer.
Yes, I’m still fuming – the game has just ended and despite four turnovers the Steelers still should have won the game in Seattle this evening – but they didn’t. I can easily point the finger at a Steelers’ secondary that resembles Swiss Cheese but that’s for another article.
If you weren’t sure about how Mike Tomlin handles ‘game management’ then this was your ‘exhibit A.’ In fact, it was also exhibits ‘B’ and ‘C’ as well.
Let’s begin with the fake field goal early in the second quarter. On fourth and two and leading 3-0, Tomlin chose to forgo attempting to get the first down using his offense. Instead, he decided a fake field goal, in which Landry Jones replaced normal holder Jordan Berry, would do the trick.
Here’s where I stop and ask, “Do other coaches take their all-pro quarterback off the field in this situation?
If you are going to go for it then you go for it with your best players. Not only was the decision dumb, but the play-call was even dumber. Jones took the snap and rolled to his right. Throwing off his back foot and all the way back across the field, his intended target was… Alejandro Villanueva.
Oh I know Villanueva is a former receiver but come on. This is your play? We can debate whether this was more coaching vs execution all we want to but it should have never even come to that. Oh by the way it was intercepted and led to a Seattle touchdown.
Then we have the second glaring example of Tomlin’s ineptitude on this day. Down by five with three minutes left to play and two timeouts, Tomlin chose to kick the field goal rather than go for the fourth down play from inside the five.
The Seattle offense had run through Tomlin’s defense like goose poop through a tin horn yet some how, some way, Tomlin figured his defense would finally hold this one time.
Three plays later, Mike Mitchell and Antwon Blake were bouncing off Doug Baldwin as he raced towards the game-clinching touchdown. I’ve heard of having faith in your players but was this really the time for it?
Four turnovers, horrible special teams’ play and zero help in the secondary are easy things to point to for this latest Steelers’ loss but the real reason today was Mike Tomlin.
The jury has indeed returned and the verdict isn’t good.