Monday, December 10, 2012

Mike Tomlin Defends Indefensible 2-Point Conversion Decision with Inexplicable Explanation

By Finesse

When the Steelers went down 34-10 to the San Diego Chargers, there were plenty reasons to be upset with the Steelers.  Mike Tomlin's coaching was certainly fair game for criticism, even if only for the fact that the Steelers were losing by TWENTY-FOUR POINTS at home to the Chargers.  But it's when the Steelers scored a touchdown and cut the lead to 34-16 that Tomlin's deficiencies stepped to the forefront.

Wallace's 11-yard TD with 6:07 left in the 4th brought the Steelers to 34-16 pending the extra point.  Instead of going for 2 and potentially cutting the lead to 16 -- a two-possession game -- Tomlin decided to kick the extra point, stay down three possessions, and put the official GARBAGE TIME stamp on the rest of the game.  Tomlin's attempted explanation of this horrific decision compounded our befuddlement.  From Joe Starkey's Twitter, Tomlin was asked if he considered going for two:
"No. Until we stopped them it was going to be insignificant. I was holding the two-point plays for that reason and that reason only. Now, we still have them in our hip pocket. Those specialty plays we didn't want to put on tape unless we had an opportunity to close the gap. As you can see, we didn't."
[Asked if this meant he thought the game was out of hand] 
"I didn't say the game was out of hand," Tomlin said. "I said that I was going to hold it until I saw signs of us being capable of stopping them."
This makes less than no sense for so many reasons.

First: As unlikely as it was that the Steelers would score two TD's and two 2-pt conversions in the last 6 minutes, at least there was a chance.  Down 17, Tomlin had conceded.

Second: This is a bullshit explanation that makes no sense.  Saving plays?  Is there some special play the Steelers have prepared for 2-point conversions that they could never run, I don't know, twice?  Is it impossible to call, I don't know, a different play that wouldn't ruin the surprise of this super-2-point-conversion that Tomlin is holding in his hip pocket?  Even accepting the ridiculous notion that there is some super-secret play the Steelers are holding onto, they couldn't have run a fade? Or a rollout?  Or a run?  Next time the Steelers go for two, Roethlisberger better crap gold.

Would probably try.
Third: Tomlin implies that he was trying to prove some point to his team that as long as they weren't stopping anyone, he wasn't going to let them get in a position to win. This is, again, indefensible.  What if the Chargers fumbled the kickoff?  What if Rivers threw an INT?  What if  the Chargers went 3-and-out and the Steelers ran the punt back (yeah right)?  Whether Tomlin thought the Steelers deserved a chance to win after their play to that point is irrelevant.  Try to win the game, and make your point at practice.

There's probably a .001% chance the Steelers would have won if Tomlin went for two, but Tomlin chose, for reasons that diminish his credibility, to make that chance zero.  Thankfully, the Bengals handed the Steelers a gift with their last-second loss to the Cowboys.  I'm surprised Tomlin hasn't declined to accept the Bengals loss because the Steelers definitely don't deserve it.

More to come on the Steelers this week.

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