Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Tomlin's Choice Wins Game for Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 6: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches his team in the first half against the Oakland Raiders during the game on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Taylor O'BrochtaContributor IDecember 21, 2009

Mike Tomlin's choice to go for an onside kick is going to be under fire for the next couple of days. Even though they won the game (which takes a lot of the heat off), it still will be questioned.

In the short sight, it looks like one of the worst calls the coach has had, and a sign that he isn't as great a coach as we might have thought.

But the truth is Mike Tomlin made the best choice of his career by kicking the onside. In the process, he saved the game and possibly the season with that choice. So let me explain if you're not on board with this yet.

Up by two, the Steelers try for a surprise onside kick and almost recover it. To most at the time, the thought is that Tomlin was trying to catch the Packers off guard, which he definitely was.

But that wasn't the main reason for the onside kick. The whole game the and whole season the Steelers have had a terrible kick coverage game.

So for the majority of the game, the Steelers were pooch-kicking the ball which was giving the packers the ball at the Steelers 40-yard line consistently.

Which brings up the first point! If the Steelers are going to give the Packers good field position, why not try to get the ball themselves?

Where the Packers got the ball was a matter of 10 yards which in the long run would have been nothing to this offense.

Which brings up the second point. This will never be admitted by Mike Tomlin and rightfully so. His defense had choked and had looked like they lost the game again.

He had no trust in the defense. So his choice was to either kick it deep and hope to pin them at the 20-yard line and make them drive.

So what does that do? Well, as showed by the drive that happened after the onside kick, the Packers moved right down the field and scored a touchdown.

If they had done that from their 20-yard line, time would have been a major factor for the Steelers and they would have lost another game with seconds on the clock. Instead Mike Tomlin gave the Packers a short field and baited them.

He put the end-zone in their view and taunted them to go for it. Which they did, and it gave the Steelers over two minutes to drive downfield to win the game.

This choice was genius and should be looked at so. The choice for an onside kick was a win-win situation.

It kept the Packers from getting a big return and demoralizing the Steelers mentally, it gave the Steelers a shot to get the ball back and make their lead even larger, and it kept the field short so no time would be wasted.

Even if the Steelers had stopped the Packers for a field goal, the Steelers would have even had more time to move down the field to just kick a field goal.

Tomlin will never come out and praise himself, and he is content with letting the media and fans think that his choice for an onside kick was a terrible choice and almost cost them the game.

But remember back a few years ago the Patriots purposely gave up a safety for field position and went on to win? That was praised as a genius call by Bill Belichick. 

So before you jump on that quick judgment of how this call almost cost the Steelers the game and was a terrible choice, look deeper into it, Mike Tomlin is a smart coach and he proved it with his brilliant choice to go for the onside kick.

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