Don’t trust the kicker? Give it to your All-Pro
Not letting a shaky kicker try a 50-yard field goal in overtime is understandable. Not giving an All-Pro running back the ball on fourth-and-1 makes less sense.
Mike Tomlin’s questionable decisions in Pittsburgh’s 23-20 loss to Baltimore kicked off Week 4 in the NFL.
Playing without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers and Michael Vick wasted a 20-7 lead against the Ravens on Thursday night. Josh Scobee missed field goal tries of 49 and 41 yards late in the fourth quarter that would’ve secured the win.
So when the Steelers had fourth-and-1 at the Ravens 33 on their second OT possession, Tomlin didn’t hesitate to keep his offense on the field. He didn’t trust Scobee trying a 50-yarder into a tricky wind.
Tomlin could’ve demanded the ball going to Le’Veon Bell. Instead, offensive coordinator Todd Haley called a play in which Vick threw across his body to the far sideline to Antonio Brown. Vick misfired. The Ravens got the ball and Justin Tucker won it on a 52-yarder.
”When you lose, you’re open to criticism,” Tomlin said. ”We lost, so I’m not going to try to justify anything that we did. Anything we did, I take responsibility for.”
Earlier in overtime, the Steelers went for fourth-and-2 on the Ravens 39. Vick was stopped on a straight run. Bell had 129 yards rushing, but didn’t get the ball in two crucial situations.
”It’s not my call. If I get the call, then I run it,” Bell said. ”If we had converted, it would not be a problem. I’m not the play caller, I’m just a player. I go out there and run plays.”
Scobee was cut over the weekend.
Other head-scratching decisions from Week 4:
TRY IT AGAIN: Jaguars kicker Jason Myers missed a 53-yarder wide right with 6 seconds left, only to get a do-over because Colts coach Chuck Pagano called timeout. The next one sailed wide right, too. Myers missed another field goal with 8:13 left in overtime and Adam Vinatieri hit a 27-yarder for a 16-13 win. So, Pagano got away with an ill-timed ”freeze-the-kicker” timeout.
INCOMPLETE, INCOMPLETE: Miami trailed 27-14 and had a first down at the Jets 4 with 6:30 left. The Dolphins tried four straight passes and Ryan Tannehill threw four straight incomplete passes. A defensive holding penalty on fourth down gave Miami a new set of downs at the Jets 2. But an offensive pass interference nullified a touchdown and twice the Dolphins tried screens before Darrelle Revis intercepted Tannehill on fourth down. Maybe a run from the 4 would’ve worked better instead of passing against an excellent secondary?
WHERE YOU GOING? Chargers rookie Josh Lambo missed a 39-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 2 seconds left, but Cleveland’s Tramon Williams jumped offside. Lambo then hit a 34-yarder to give San Diego a 30-27 victory. Williams, who was rushing from the left end, was desperate to try to block a makeable kick, but his penalty cost the Browns a chance to win in overtime.
DON’T SLEEP ON BALTIMORE: A week after converting a fake punt, the Ravens tried a fake field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Steelers 20. They were trailing 20-17 in the third quarter when punter/holder Sam Koch threw a short pass that lost 3 yards.
CROSSING THE GOAL: Cowboys running back Joseph Randle lost the ball when he leaped at the 1 yard line and had it knocked away in the second quarter of Sunday night’s 26-20 overtime loss at New Orleans. The Saints recovered at their 4, but the play was overturned because officials determined Randle crossed the goal line. It didn’t appear that way on several television angles, however, and it’s a risky move.
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report
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