The Steelers came into Tennessee on a short week but coming off a big win against the Eagles, and seemingly back in control after a strong performance on the ground and good defense. Things aren’t always as they appear to be if you’re a Steeler a fan, then Thursday night was never more evident of that.
With just over 4:00 minutes remaining the Steelers took over in a tie game and again had the chance to pull out a last second victory. After the comeback win against the Eagles, you knew they had it in them to at least give it the old college try. I won’t go as far as to say you were confident necessarily but at least there was hope.
Shaun Suisham’s career long is 52 yds and in fact he nailed one of that distance earlier in the 2nd half, so if you’re Mike Tomlin then you’re thinking that maybe you give your kicker a chance to win this game again. The issue here isn’t whether or not Suisham had the leg for it, which on that play he didn’t, but rather why even consider it in the first place? Tomlin later admitted in his post-game press conference that there was a debate about whether or not to try and kick, but he felt like they had a legitimate shot based on the previous FG attempt. “I take responsibility for that one” Tomlin said to the media.
General logic says a 54 yd field goal in a tie game with just under a minute to go means you punt the ball away, pin the other team deep and make them earn every single yard. Heck, if you’re the Steelers defense that is what you’re built for. You are built to make a team drive the length of the field and force them into an eventual mistake that gets the ball back for your offense. Even if Matt Hasselbeck was having some success against the Steelers defense tonight you have to take your chances and try and make a stop because the alternative is setting up the Titans near mid field with 3 timeouts and only needing a 1 point to win.
That’s exactly what happened; Suisham tried with all he had but just didn’t have the leg for it even if the accuracy was there. The Titans took over, and the Steeler defense crumbled under the pressure late and Rob Bironas kicked the game winner from 40 yds out with ease.
So here our Steelers sit at 2-3; if there weren’t questions before, and I don’t know how there couldn’t be, they sure are bountiful now.