(Screenshot from the CBS broadcast of the Steelers-Raiders game)
With the Steelers trailing 23-14 and facing a fourth-and-1 from their 34-yard line with 8:36 remaining. Mike Tomlin lived in his fears and brought the punt team out. I mean, you can't get a yard on fourth-and-1? Why not just quarterback sneak it with Ben Roethlisberger (Tom Brady does it at 44) or hand it off to the first-round pick running back Najee Harris? I think Tomlin's decision showcases just how much he doesn't trust this offensive line.
The defense, who were gassed and decimated by injuries, gave up just one first down after the punt, but the Raiders ran 2:32 off the clock with four straight runs. That's valuable time wasted in a two possession game. And Ben Roethlisberger didn't look too happy when he came off the field with the punt team coming on.
Just watch Roethlisberger's response in the video below.
Roethlisberger said he had no say in Tomlin's decision to punt the ball on fourth-and-1 with over eight minutes remaining.
“Not when the punt team is running on the field,” Roethlisberger said. “You saw it. You saw me. I don’t have a choice.”
Roethlisberger then smirked when asked if he wanted to go for it.
Tomlin said he considered going for it on fourth-and-1, but wanted to play the field position game.
Tomlin's decision wasn't the main reason why the Steeler lost, but it clearly wasn't the right decision. You have to gamble in certain situations, and more often than not, Tomlin takes the conservative route.
Which brings us to John Harbaugh's decision to go for the win with Lamar Jackson on fourth-and-1 from their 45-yard line with a 1-point lead. The NBC broadcast captured Harbaugh yelling to Jackson, "Lamar! Do you want to go for this?"
Quite the contrast from the Tomlin-Roethlisberger situation, right?
Jackson ended up getting the first down and the Ravens secured a 36-35 win over the Chiefs.
It was a gutsy call by Harbaugh. But given the circumstances, it was an easy call. No way do you give the ball back to Mahomes with a 1-point lead and 1:05 remaining.
Tomlin's decision wasn't as much of a no-brainer compared to Harbaugh's, but it would have been nice to see Tomlin give his future Hall of Fame quarterback more of a say. Roethlisberger was clearly frustrated by it. And how can you blame him?