When I was younger, I’d play Madden NFL Whataveryear on Playstation 1 and go through season mode, usually with the Steelers. If I wasn’t the Steelers, I was the Eagles…Brian Dawkins had to have been in his 3rd or 4th season and was a terror on D. Sometimes, games would come down to whoever had the ball last, and you had to have the stones to figure that out. Which means maybe something unconventional.
I’d always just line my guys up in punt block formation, to either bring the house and sack the QB each play or let them score quickly and give me the ball last. Mike Tomlin didn’t try to punt block, but he did call a bizarre onside kick with 3 minutes left and a mere 2 point lead. Either he was getting the ball back immediately or setting up Green Bay with fantastic field position for their inevitable score.
It sucks that you have to bet on your defense failing you in the waning moments of the 4th Quarter in order to win a game, but Tomlin should be praised for the call. We’ve watched late leads disappear in more recent games than ever, and Mike decided to speed up the expected defensive meltdown, and give Ben Roethlisberger enough time to try something.
If that last play doesn’t happen, Mike Tomlin is getting roasted for his decision. We’re fans, we’re gonna boo what doesn’t work and applaud what does. Thankfully, Ben (and Mike Wallace) made that play. I’m happier that we have a coach willing to take the risk to win a game. What else was he losing at that point, with the weight of a 5-game losing streak and the prospect of no playoffs?
I haven’t been giving out rankings during the 5 losses, and I’m not doing it in the wins anymore this season. The enthusiasm of the win is tempered a bit by the 5-week horror that preceded it.
So at this point, all I can say is Go Steelers. That was a fantastic game against the Packers.