Two at a time

The Steelers' belief in the two-point conversion was such that head coach Mike Tomlin was detected by NFL Films microphones telling his sideline he intended to go for two late in the fourth quarter in Denver in the event a touchdown would pull his team to within 20-19.

Sadly for the Steelers, it never came to that in what became a 23-16 postseason defeat.

But by then the Steelers' faith in their ability to convert extra points two at a time had long since been established.

The Steelers went for two the first time they scored a touchdown this season, on Sept. 10 at New England. They made it, too, on a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Markus Wheaton, a conversion that helped pull the Steelers from 18 down at 21-3 to within 10 points of the Patriots at 21-11 in the third quarter.

The Steelers also went for two following what turned out to be their final regular-season touchdown on Jan. 3 at Cleveland. This time, Roethlisberger hit running back Fitz Toussaint for the conversion that gave the Steelers a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter at 25-12.

In between, the Steelers attempted nine additional two-point conversions for a total of 11 on the season, five more than any other NFL team.

They converted an NFL-record eight two-point attempts.

The Steelers had a go-for-two mentality in 2015 and it never wavered.

They attempted one on Oct. 18 against Arizona early in the third quarter with Landry Jones at quarterback.

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Jones had just replaced Landry Jones, who had been injured for a second time against the Cardinals.

And Jones had just thrown the second pass of his NFL career, which had been caught by wide receiver Martavis Bryant for an 8-yard touchdown that had given the Steelers a 12-10 lead.

Jones' conversion pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown was intercepted by cornerback Patrick Peterson, which forced the Steelers to settle for a two-point lead rather than assume a four-point advantage.

But it wasn't because of a lack of effort.

The Steelers opened preparations for 2015 practicing two-point plays at the outset of the first practice of Organized Team Activities in the spring and they never stopped. They put the ball at the 2-yard line and ran seven plays in an exercise they referred to as "Seven Shots."

It wasn't specifically a two-point drill, Tomlin said, but instead a method of honing offensive and defensive skills in the type of short-yardage and goal-line plays that often loom as critical.

Nor was it a response, Tomlin maintained, to the NFL rule that moved the line of scrimmage for traditional PATs back to the 15, which was designed to make extra-point attempts less predictable and perhaps to persuade teams to go for two more often.

But the Steelers nonetheless embraced the two-point possibilities.

They even went for two with a 15-0 lead in the latter stages of the third quarter of their playoff opener on Jan. 9 at Cincinnati. Roethlisberger's pass to Wheaton wound up falling incomplete.

A traditional kick would have forced the Bengals to score a pair of TDs and a pair of two-point conversions to tie the game at 16-16.

But a successful two-point play would have made it a three-score game with a little more than a quarter to play.

And as the Steelers had long since established, they liked their chances in such situations.

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