Tomlin’s 3rd quarter gaffe paves way for huge Ravens win in Pittsburgh

November 19, 2012 | Drew Forrester

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.

10 Comments For This Post

  1. charlie Says:

    good call, drew. i was worried that they would punch it in and relieved after the kick.

  2. Chuck Says:


    Good assessment of Tomlin.

    But make no mistake: last night a very average QB beat an absolutely dreadful backup QB.

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    Couple of observations. First kudos to Paul Kruger. I rip this guy all the time but he stepped it up last night. Maybe he’s going to be the modern day Ordell Brase? On the offense I thought that our tackles especially KO really sucked the big one. I guess it’s good that KO got to meet Mr Woodley last night but McKinnie owns Woodley and I think if we meet these guys in the playoffs you have to get Bryant in the game. Let’s just hope we can get healthier and not more banged up.

  4. The Armchair QB Says:

    I remain convinced that the offense is “dummied down” to compensate for crowd noise on the road, which disrupts their timing and produces an offense that football analysts unanimously describe as, “out-of-sync”, “dysfunctional”, “inconsistent” and “predicatable”. Unfortunately, unless or until there’s a change in coordinators, we’re not likely to find out! But, as you point out, a win is a win, we’re 8-2 and comfortably atop the AFC North. Besides, we won a Super Bowl with an offense that went 5 games without scoring a TD, so it’s certainly possible!

  5. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    A Win is a Win and we will take it. Flacco and Co. really stunk up Heinz field with there enemic offence. Maybe now people see how over-rated Flacco is at QB, and stop telling me I’m wrong about this guy. They are 8&2, should be 9&1 (needed a Flacco comeback against the Eagles and didn’t get it ) I sure hope they get home field thru-out the playoffs, if not see ya.

  6. RJ Says:

    Well, Drew, I did not get to hear your Mea Culpa this a.m. regarding the Ravens “in a romp over Pittsburgh” this weekend – I still believe you were delusional when you made that statement – but I can’t agree with your assessment above in regards to the Ravens inability to stop the run, your words not mine. Yes, the Steelers ran on occasion, but all-in-all our D was quite effective against the Steeler’s run game last night, a positive omen going forward! (DF: Mea Culpa? Are you on dope? I said “No way will Byron Leftwich beat the Ravens. And he didn’t. It should have been a romp given the scrub QB the Ravens faced, but he even found a nut in the 1st quarter. And you must not follow the NFL all that much. The Ravens allowed 5 yards per-carry last night. That’s not “quite effective”…in any book.)

  7. John Says:

    You say “the other team tries too”. That really means the other team gets paid to play, as well. Some credit needs to be given to Pittsburgh’s defense. Look at last week and this week. I don’t want to hear the “Well, Joe plays bad on the road” crap. Really, the difference is a good team versus a bad team, and then add in certain non football factors that influence a game, such as:

    1: Last week, the Ravens destroyed Oakland. Why? Because Oakland never plays good when they have to travel to the East Coast and play a 1PM game. They historically have lost games in this situation. The Ravens did a good job of taking advantage of that.

    2: Pittsburgh historically plays well in night games. I remember seeing some stat that they have the best record in the league in such games. Add to that thier #1 rated defense, and you can see why the Ravens’ offense struggled.

    But the media wants to nit pick and say that Flacco is average at best on the road. THE OTHER TEAM GETS PAID TO PLAY ALSO.

    Ever notice how the Bungles can stink all year, yet they seem to get up for the Ravens? Same for the Browns… Just face it, its tough to win on the road in the NFL. The Ravens have 3 road wins now, and we should be proud of that. (DF: This road fog has enveloped the team all year. They have 3 road wins, true. And three TD’s from the offense in those wins. The OFFENSE doesn’t have three road wins. The defense does.)

  8. GlenW Says:

    I doubt many thought kicking a field-goal in the 3rd was a bad idea. It would have been foolish to try a 4th and 2, 4th and inches, sure, but not 4th and 2. Definately not with a whole quarter left to play and at home.
    But I’m glad the Ravens won.

  9. BudIce05 Says:

    Cam and Joe(the distant 3rd best QB in Baltimore NFL History)Flacco will not shut up their crtics after another pathetic road performance…..

  10. Neil Says:

    While it is hard to see very much of the field on TV I saw Flacco 3 x’s in the 1st quarter try and throw to T. Smith with double they coverage. Meanwhile Jones, and Bouldin ahad their men beat and looked like a step child with Joe making thise dangerous throws for no good reason

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