About an hour ago
Steelers are leading 8-0, but I don’t trust them.
Coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and was a key to being included in the Professional Football Fame Hall of Fame, but I don’t trust him.
Sunday’s victory in Dallas brought those emotions to the fore.
Cowboys are full of injuries. They used their number 4 midfielder. However, the Steelers pulled the team 13½ points behind in 60 minutes before winning with only 24-19. Dallas ran six innings in Steelers territory to finish the game. The Cowboys’ last two appearances were passes from 29 and 23.
That last gasp was delivered through a confusing Tomlin decision.
I heard his explanation. I have heard what others defended. But nothing is superior to mathematics.
The Steelers face 4 and 1 at Dallas ’15 with 43 seconds left. Instead of summoning Chris Boswell to kick a 32-yard penalty to get an eight-point lead, the Steelers gave the ball to James Conner for a shot from 4 yards away.
Rather than needing eight points to draw, the Cowboys needed six points to win and almost got them.
Tomlin said earlier problems with kicking kept him away from a scoring effort. The Steelers missed two extra points. Kam Canaday long snapper had a rotten day when catching and blocking.
But doesn’t Tomlin often say, “Don’t we live in our fear?” Well, that’s exactly what Tomlin decided to do.
Since Tomlin quoted a precedent from earlier in the game, be aware that the previous Steelers were discontinued in seasons 4 and 1.
More precedent: Boswell is five for five goals from 30-39 yards this season.
Worst case scenario: Dallas makes a save. What is the odds of them returning it for a touch down? Slim. So even if the kick is blocked, the Cowboys are almost certain to succeed right where they did: Shoot shots in the bottom area for a chance of winning.
If you have a 5 lead in that situation and have a chance to go 8 with a goal at 32 yards, you will start all the time. It’s an easy decision unless you convince yourself to believe otherwise. It’s an easy decision unless you choose to live in your fear.
Tomlin is a good coach. Chuck Noll is a better coach, and he made the same decision in the Super Bowl X match against Dallas in 1976.
With a 21-17 lead and a Cowboys 4-9 lead, Noll took the win, gaining two yards from running and overturning the ball at 82 seconds. Cowboys finally made three shots in the last area from the Steelers’ 37, but Glen Edwards made a clearance to end the game.
Noll was afraid a shot could be blocked because Dallas had a good shot earlier.
It was a stupid decision and now a stupid one. But the Steelers have won both times.
Steelers is an odd 8-0.
They are said to still have not had 60 minutes of fun together. They walked an average of 2.6 yards each time they crashed into Dallas. Their overrated defense conceded 144 yards in the wake of that game, and 220 yards to a midfielder with a fourth streak. Dallas converted 8 out of 17 times down to a third, including a third and 10 final possessions. Steelers only has two sacks. It was definitely a day off.
Steelers do not seem prepared to play an incompetent opponent. That happens to every team from time to time, but not so much with champions of the caliber and it happens too often with Tomlin teams.
Credit goes to midfielder Ben Roethlisberger – who also has difficulty rallying for 60 minutes and Sunday is no exception.
Roethlisberger struggled in the first half, he had to leave the field early to look at his ailing knee and make room for Mason Rudolph in the final series of games.
But Roethlisberger ended up completing 29 of 42 passes within 306 yards, three touches versus zero interceptions and a passing score of 113.8. Whatever is asked of, Roethlisberger does. I trust Roethlisberger.
Mark column Madden | Sports | Steelers / NFL