It’s 3:00 am here in Buenos Aires. Thank God for the use or lose vacation day I am taking on Tuesday. We’ll have more in the morning here is my quick take, and it ain’t pretty:
Steel Curtain Rising is a Mike Tomlin fan. Steel Curtain Rising is on record saying it is tantamount to a crime that he’s never gotten serious consideration for NFL coach of the year. Beyond that, Steel Curtain Rising:
- Likes Mike Tomlin’s refusal to coach scared
- Admires Tomlin’s aggressiveness
- Defends his audacity, be it the decision to go for 2 in ’07 or the on-sides kick vs. Green Bay in ’09
But Mike Tomlin perhaps saw his worst night of coaching vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Ben Roethlisberger wanted to play, and Tomlin wanted to play him. That’s easy to understand. Tomlin decided to give it a shot. No argument here. When things got rough, Mike Tomlin refused to give into knee-jerk reactions. All well and good.
If one concedes that Ben showed enough to be given a chance to make a go of it, one can also argue about when Ben Roethlisberger should have been taken out.
But there is no disputing “IF” Ben Roethlisberger should have been taken out.
The Steelers have invested heavily, if in terms of decision making if not acutal money and salary cap space, in quarterbacking bull pen. Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon are there for a reason.
In fact, Charlie Batch is 4-2 in relief of Ben, having won against some long odds.
By the middle of the third quarter the game was still quite winnable for Pittsburgh, it was clear that Ben Roethlisberger did not give them their best chance to win.
As the second half wore on the need for a miracle became more and more apparent, and it was more and more apparent that Ben was not going to deliver that miracle. Worse yet, with no need to fear the run the 49ers brought a heavy pass rush, and Ben absorbed more and more punishment — how his ankle cannot be worse after tonight is beyond me.
Mike Tomlin is an excellent coach who inspires his men, commands their respects, and knows how to win football games.
But on this night Tomlin had a key decision to make, and he made the wrong decision.
Standing behind your man is one thing, being constant as the North Star is another, and Mike Tomlin’s obstinacy very well may have cost the Steelers the AFC North.