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Monday, December 21, 2009
Why Tomlin gave the Packers a gift

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

I am traveling back to NFC North headquarters, so our regular Monday features will post a bit later today. So while you continue to absorb the events of Week 15, I wanted to explain why Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin called for an onside kick with his team holding a 2-point lead with 3 minutes, 58 seconds remaining against Green Bay.

Well, I’ll let Tomlin explain it to you. In essence, he didn’t trust his defense to stop the Packers over a full field. So he decided to let them use half the time to go half the field. Or something like that.

As you recall, the Steelers lost possession because cornerback Ike Taylor touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards. The Packers took possession at the Steelers’ 39-yard line and needed less than two minutes to score a go-ahead touchdown. That left the Steelers about two minutes to mount their final, game-winning drive.

Here’s how Tomlin explained his thinking:

“First of all, I thought with the element of surprise we had a chance to get it. But if we didn’t get it and they were to score, then we would have the necessary time on the clock to score or match their score. Plan A didn’t work. We got the ball but we were illegal. That was the correct the call, but it kind of unfolded the way [we] envisioned it. We had 30 minutes of evidence that we could drive the ball on them. We also conversely had 30 minutes of evidence to show they could also drive the ball on us. That’s why we took the risk we did.”

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I wonder if that wasn’t what we call retroactive reasoning. Whatever it was, it worked Sunday for the Steelers.