Mike Tomlin, Josh Scobee, Todd Haley, Michael Vick. A lot of people deserve a lot of blame for the Steelers’ 23-20 overtime loss to the Ravens on Thursday.
But who deserves the most blame?
“Scobee need to make the two (field goals),” two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Network analyst Ike Taylor said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Scobee needs to make the two. I’m not going to put anything on Coach T – because from my understanding, just being around him for eight years, he let his coaches coach. He’s going to trump an offseason (decision) or a head business decision, but he’s not going to trump a call in the game. That’s why these coaches coach the way they coach.”
That’s fine, but Tomlin decided what to do on fourth down. Haley makes the play call once the decision is made, but it’s on Tomlin to make the decision to go for it or not, right? Right.
Yet, while some are criticizing Tomlin for not going for the win in overtime, it’s easy to see why he didn’t. After watching Scobee miss two field goals at the end of regulation, there was no way Tomlin was going to ask him to attempt a game-winner from 50+ yards.
So if you didn’t like the fourth-down play-call – unsuccessfully running Vick to the outside – that’s on Haley, not Tomlin.
“I’m looking at Todd like, ‘Todd, if I’m going to lose this fourth down, I’m going to lose it with who? I’m going to lose it with my best player in the backfield. Who’s my best player? Le’Veon Bell,’” Taylor explained. “So if I do want the best of both worlds, I’m going to go pistol – meaning Vick is in the shotgun and Le’Veon bell is behind him – so now I could do a read-option. I got the best of both worlds. If the D-end comes down and crashes hard, I’m going to fake like I’m going to give it to Le’Veon and I’m going to take off. But if he doesn’t and if he pauses, I’m going to give it to Le’Veon. That’s what I would have done if I wanted the best of both worlds. But for sure I got to have Le’Veon as one of my options – or my first option – if I’m going to go (for it on) 4th-and-1.”
With the loss, not only do the Steelers (2-2) risk falling two games behind the Bengals (3-0), but they also missed a golden opportunity to end Baltimore’s season. The Ravens at 0-4 would have had no chance of making the playoffs. But at 1-3 – and with games against Cleveland and San Francisco upcoming – they’re still very much alive for the postseason.
“(Losing to the Ravens) takes a toll,” said Taylor, who spent his entire 12-year career in Pittsburgh. “It takes a toll out of me. That’s how I felt when I lost to the Ravens. It look a little piece of my soul out of me. I hope this came doesn’t come back and haunt (the Steelers) later.”