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Tomlin Tuesday: Top 5 vs. Browns

Posted Dec 24, 2013

Coach Mike Tomlin talks about not taking a knee, the fake punt and more.


  1. Sticking by his decision: After Sunday’s game Steelers coach Mike Tomlin defended his decision to not take a knee on second-and-goal from the one-yard line with 1:28 to play in the game, instead giving the ball to Le’Veon Bell for the touchdown that gave the team a 38-31 lead. The decision gave the Packers the ball back with 1:25 to play from the Steelers 31-yard line after a 70-yard kickoff return. Tomlin was asked about the decision again during his press conference and he stuck by his guns.     

    “I just had a concern of kneeling under the circumstances with the weather conditions being what they were,” said Tomlin. “When they utilized their last timeout, I was more comfortable with putting the defense on the field under those circumstances after getting a touchdown. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably do it the same.”

  2. Well executed: One of the key plays in the win over the Packers was Mat McBriar’s third quarter fake punt, where he rolled out and completed a 30-yard pass to David Paulson. The play set up Ben Roethlisberger’s 13-yard touchdown run. Tomlin, who talked to special teams coach Danny Smith during halftime about using it, said it was a play that they had been working on and even though it might not have always looked good in practice, it worked when it had to.

    “Like a lot of plays that you work, some days it looks better than others,” said Tomlin. “We had a great deal of confidence in our ability to execute it, our understanding of the play, but executing it was another thing. But to see Mat get it done and those other guys get it done, it’s a credit to them.”

  3. In the race: The Steelers have plenty at stake this week against the Browns, with a chance at an AFC Wild Card spot if everything plays out in their favor.

    “Still having a horse in this race is important to us,” said Tomlin. “We are excited about getting back in front of our fans, and doing it in Heinz Field against a division opponent. There are a lot of scenarios and so forth out there but our approach will be the same as it has been. We’ve made this bed. I like the way the group is laying in it. We will focus on the task and challenge that is in front of us, the preparation and play against the Cleveland Browns.”

  4. Bell keeps ringing: Running back Le’Veon Bell responded to his goal line fumble against the Packers not by hanging his head, but instead coming back strong on the next carry with a 25 yard run on what would turn into a touchdown drive.

    It’s the only time this guy has fumbled since we’ve had him,” said Tomlin. “It made sense to give him an opportunity to redeem himself. This is a guy that’s been continually on the rise for us and gaining an understanding of what he’s capable of and what we need from him.”

  5. Big guy, big contribution: Tight end Matt Spaeth made his first reception of the season, an 11-yard touchdown catch to give the Steelers a 24-21 lead over the Packers. But his contributions far exceed that catch, as the 6-7, 270 pound tight end has given the Steelers so much more since he returned from his foot injury.

    “Matt is a big-time contributor to our efforts,” said Tomlin. “He’s one of those animals that looks like the guys that he’s trying to block. It’s a level playing field there in terms of what he’s able to do from an end-line blocking standpoint. He works hard at it, but he has a natural skill set for it. He’s a big, easy target to throw to. It’s good to have him back. It’s good to have his contributions.”

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