Tomlin Doesn’t Regret How Team Defended Broncos

Mike Tomlin said Monday he’d defend Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow the same way if given another chance, even after Denver burned the defending AFC champions for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime in a stunning 29-23 victory.

“Obviously they made some nice plays on us and in hindsight you would analyze it, but your options are limited in terms of how you attack them,” Tomlin said. The Steelers crowded the line of scrimmage and dared Tebow to beat the NFL’s top-ranked defense with his sometimes erratic left arm.

Tebow obliged by throwing for 316 yards and a pair of long touchdowns, including the dart Demaryius Thomas turned into the quickest overtime score in NFL playoff history. “They made a nice football play,” Tomlin said.

The first playoff game in which the league’s revised overtime rules never got to see the new rules in play after Thomas slipped past cornerback Ike Taylor then outraced Taylor and backup safety Ryan Mundy to the end zone. Tomlin had no problems with the defensive play call, an inverted zone that called for Mundy and Troy Polamalu to crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

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Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and of course, the National Football League. On NFL Sunday’s you can hear Matt on National networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and other stations around the country. Matt also joined The Washington Post in 2009 as a guest columnist on league hot topics. Born and raised in Cleveland, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

8 Comments on "Tomlin Doesn’t Regret How Team Defended Broncos"

  1. Tomlin doesn’t regret it but I do. I also regret his decision to play Roethlisberger against Cleveland because the Steelers would probably have beaten Cleveland with Charlie Batch. I regret Tomlin not getting rid of Arians. And I regret the Steelers not going after corners and safeties in last year’s draft. Finally, I regret Redman not carrying the ball more this season.

  2. Vince Lombardi said, “show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

    • Amen, he is also credited with saying “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”

      I’ve played in allot of different sport events in my life and always gave everything I had in every game. People are stunned by my compete level often telling me “You shouldn’t take this so seriously, we’re playing for fun.” I tell them, “I’m playing for fun too, winning is fun.”

      There are no moral victories, just victories.

  3. Tomlin’s right about the method used to defend the Broncos. It was the same method used by other teams in the three previous Denver loses. LeBeau was following a proven script. The Steelers defense simply lacked the personnel to make that scheme work. Our D didn’t execute.

    If nothing else, the Debacle in Denver illustrated the need for adding much better corners (for man coverage) and defensive linemen (to pressure QBs). Above all, it illustrated the need at all positions for greater discipline in executing individual assignments. The Steelers safeties and LBs were consistently out of position because of their over-aggressive play, particularly Harrison, Woodley, and Polamalu — who were trying to compenate for defensive weaknesses elsewhere. We must shore up the weaknesses and get everyone on defense back to focusing on their own individual assignments.

    I empathize with SBSteelers regrets. Arians should never have been brought back. Batch deserved more playing time, if only to keep him sharp. Redman justified my season-long faith in him and deserved to share time equally with Mendenhall. But I view regret as wasted emotion; it focuses on yesterday. Let’s look toward tomorrow.

    What Tomlin needs to do — and promised to do — is focus on righting the ship in 2012. On offense, dismissing Arians would be a good first step, and the second step is find an OC willing to discipline Ben R. and M. Wallace, requiring them to play within the offensive scheme, instead of seeking personal glory. Discipline comes from the top. On defense, we must get LeBeau better personnel. For four years, he has been forced to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, while we emphasized Arians’ aerial circus. But defense is what wins games, even today. Until the defense is made dominant again and more disciplined, we can expect the Steelers to remain mediocre at best.

  4. Jeff - Sterling, MA | January 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply

    Very well said DrGeorge and I agree ( and understand ) with the over all defensive game plan going into the game; play the run, see if TT can throw on you. Well after that 2nd quarter of play and the fact that we were giving up big pass plays, why in God’s name would you continue to defend him with most of your defenders w/in 5 yards of the line of scrimmage in OT knowing the new rules!!!!!! Whatever you do, don’t give up the TD, a FG is OK. That is what has me upset! I guess the silver lining is I don’t have to deal with obnoxious Pats fans all around me here in north central Mass potentially gloating after a divisional round win in Foxboro…with our injury situation coming out of Denver does anybody really think we could have gone to NE and won????

    • Jeff, I concur with your logic on the alignment prior to the winning pass. After getting burned a few times, we should have played more conservatively. No doubt the injuries to Keisel and Hampton affected that decision; perhaps, Tomlin was concerned that our D line replacements couldn’t stop the run, and he hoped to hold Denver deep and gain field position. Playing the secondary that close to the line was an unnecessary risk, but defensible. In the end, our guys simply failed to execute.

      But as disappointing as that final play was, I still look at our dismal play in regulation. The sack Ben took on the last drive in regulation that kept us from field goal range; the clock management issues in the first half; the failure to give Batch a chance to move the team in the first half; and Arians failure to run the ball consistently, especially in the red zone. We should have won the game in regulation.

      In mid-season, I asked the question: What do you think V. Lombardi (or Noll or Cowher) would have done with the talent on this team? Even with today’s the pass-happy NFL rules, I think Lombardi would have run the ball more and demanded greater team discipline. And we wouldn’t be getting our butts kicked and wondering what happened.

  5. We did have the number one pass defense in the NFL. That obviously was not on display Sunday night and the schedule certainly helped the stats but i don’t care who you are playing, with the rules in the NFL favoring the offense so heavily now, allowing only 172 yards per game passing is not a bad deal. I think Dlinemen and ILB’s are more of a priority in this years draft with respect to defense.

    The 2 corners we took in last years draft, Brown and Allen, sound like they are going to contribute more next year. Gay is a UFA so who knows. Bouchette mentioned a possible move to safety for him. I honestly think in a few years, the 2011 draft class is going to be one of the Steelers best in the last 10 years or so. Don’t forget about the Carter kid at LB and Baron Batch at RB.

    As always, i try and remain optimistic…

  6. I can guarantee you the “Fire Mike Tomlin” bandwagon will be full next year at this time. At least the media homers (and Cowher) are calling Tomlin on his Neanderthal decisions to play injured Pouncy and Roethlisberger in meaningless games. What would Sean Payton or Belichick have done? I can see either of them running down the sidelines in Denver to call a time out with 25 seconds left at the end of the game at midfield. How bad would it have been to play Batch in the SF and Cleveland games? GB recently rested their starting QB and the backup threw for 500 yards…

    Cowher was clearly the “head coach” and would have gone to Denver and won. He had his differences with his coordinators and keeping Big Ben in line but Tomlin did nothing to make necessary adjustments down the stretch and in the Denver game, leaving Ike Taylor on an Island over and over and over and over again was..Udder stupidity!

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