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Monday, December 23, 2013
Tomlin grilled about late-game decision

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- First there was the foot that shouldn't have been on the field.

Now there is the knee that should have been on the field -- specifically after a penalty gift wrapped by the Packers gave Mike Tomlin the chance to mostly bleed the clock dry and still provide Shaun Suisham with an easy chip shot to beat Green Bay.

Tomlint
Tomlin
Tomlin, of course, played for the touchdown and the Steelers lost the game because of it.

At least that's what you might have thought had you watched or listened to Tomlin's weekly news conference without knowing what had happened in the Steelers and Packers' first meeting since Super Bowl XLV.

The first seven questions -- after Tomlin made it sound like the second comings of Jim Brown, Otto Graham and Ozzie Newsome were suiting up for the visiting Browns on Sunday -- were related to his clock management at the end of the Packers game.

A game that the Steelers won, 38-31.

Whether or not Tomlin stood by his strategy needed to be asked, especially since he might have viewed the end of the game differently after getting a chance to analyze it away from the crucible of competition.

But Tomlin stuck by his decision, whether people disagree with it or not. He also explained at length his reasoning for playing for the touchdown instead of the field goal.

There wasn't anything more he could do, which is why the seventh-year coach seemed generally perplexed when questions about his decision at the end of the game kept coming.

“I'm sorry I'm not answering the question to your satisfaction,” Tomlin said, “but that's my opinion, that's how I felt and I'd probably do it again.”

Monday morning quarterbacking is the domain of fans and the media. It is a requirement for the latter, something Tomlin, like many coaches, has rarely shown any inclination to try to understand.

He is going to get questioned. He is especially going to get questioned at his weekly news conferences since Tomlin's postgame news conferences are so notoriously short.

But there is a difference between pressing a coach  for answers on strategic or personnel moves and overkill.

To review: Tomlin didn't want to rely on a field goal because of the weather and poor field conditions. He felt confident about putting his defense back on the field to preserve the win. He agrees to disagree with those who say he should have kicked a field goal after nearly killing the clock. He wouldn't do anything differently.

Oh and here is another reminder: the Steelers won the game.