If you’ve been a regular listener to The Morning Reaction over the years, you know by now one of my personal sports adages is “the other team tries, too”.
After watching Sunday night’s 13-10 Ravens win in Pittsburgh, I need to add a small note to the end of that phrase — “and sometimes they DON’T try.”
That’s what happened on Sunday night when Mike Tomlin – with his team gouging the Ravens defense for five yards a carry all night – decided to sissy-out and kick a field goal rather than go for it on 4th and 2 from the Baltimore four yard line late in the 3rd quarter.
“Sometimes they DON’T try…”
Really, Mike? Your running game was trampling the Ravens for the most part. Your quarterback was literally hanging on for dear life with each hit he took. And your defense – coupled with another unimaginative Ravens offensive effort – was doing a great job of shutting the door and keeping Baltimore close.
4th and 2 and you kick a field goal to make it 13-10? Lame-ass coaching, that’s what that was. As soon as I saw the Steelers line up for the field goal, I said, “This is a horrible decision…they won’t get this close to scoring again tonight.”
And I was right. It WAS a horrible decision and they didn’t get anywhere near the red zone for the remainder of the night.
Of course, the national TV guys didn’t say a word about Tomlin’s horrible decision. They mumbled something about the game being “a bloodbath” and “a nailbiter, as always” and forgot to mention that the Pittsburgh coach just handed the game to John Harbaugh and Company.
Here in Baltimore, we’ll gladly take it, as it helped pave the way for an ultra critical Ravens road win and a seemingly safe 2-game lead over the Steelers with six games to play in the regular season.
There’s another famous saying that goes like this: NEVER look a gift horse in the mouth.
And Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh was a gift horse, what with Byron Leftwich lumbering around and Mike Tomlin playing safe with the game – and maybe his team’s season – on the line.
Three weeks ago in New York, Tomlin gambled with a crazy fake field goal on the Giants six yard line in a game Pittsburgh would eventually win despite the unsuccessful fake attempt. And that was with his 2-time champion quarterback at the helm, not a stiff like Leftwich.
Sunday night, with red zone trips about as rare as a 5-game winning streak from the Pirates, Tomlin played it safe and kicked a field goal when two yards could have paved the way to a 14-13 lead and, perhaps, a shocking win.
Just like the referees helping the Ravens beat New England earlier this year…and Jason Garrett and Tony Romo aiding in a Baltimore win over Dallas…and Pat Shurmer forgetting to coach in a squeaker-of-a-win in Cleveland, the Ravens will no doubt take Sunday night’s win and head back to Baltimore with a smile on their face.
Hey, a win in Pittsburgh is a win, no matter how you do it.
Even if it takes the Steelers coach losing his man-card to get the job done, you smile at the end and say, “We’ll take it.”
Thanks Mike Tomlin.
We needed that.