Mike Tomlin Explains Decision to Bypass Late-Game FG Attempt

Chris Boswell

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Greg Zuerlein of the Dallas Cowboys speaks with Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the game at AT&T Stadium on November 08, 2020.

On Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers escaped AT&T Stadium with a 24-19 victory over the Dallas Cowboys to realize the organization’s best-ever start. But the game was “not without its trials today,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in his post-game press conference. “I’m really proud of our football team, 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. We’re humbled and honored to be that group,” he stated, before admitting that many of the trials were self-inflicted.

“You have to give the Cowboys a lot of credit,” he added. “They really came to play in all three phases. They were beating us to the punch—it starts with coaching, then playing. They were on it, we were not.

“Thankfully, like we were talking about last week, we’ve got a group that sticks together, a group that is mentally tough and is able to persevere,” concluded Tomlin. “But obviously we can’t keep having these conversations every week because one of these weeks we’ll be doing it with an ‘L’ if we’re not careful.”

Why Did Pittsburgh Run the Ball Instead of Attempting a FG at the End of its Last Drive?

As for the aforementioned post-game press conference, the very first question asked—by reporter Mike Prisuta—pertained to the thought process on not attempting a field goal to try to extend the lead to eight points at the end of Pittsburgh’s last drive of the game.

“We had struggled so much with our field goal group early in the game I just didn’t feel good about it,” offered Tomlin. “They were beating us to the punch for the better part of the day on special teams. I had seen enough of their dominance in ’teams.”

Tomlin went on to explain how he didn’t feel entirely comfortable about trying to make in-game corrections with the field goal unit, which had already failed to convert two extra points, one of which was blocked.

“We’ll get back in the lab and go through a week of corrections and fundamentals and making sure we’re solid there as opposed to trying to fix something in-game and running the risk of a double-thud again. I am not about that life,” he quipped.

You can watch Tomlin’s post-game press conference in its entirety below:

Steelers Records Broken, Streaks Extended vs. Cowboys

As for Steelers records broken or extended on Sunday: Placekicker Chris Boswell set a new franchise record with a 59-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Boswell was 2 of 2 on field goals for the day, also converting from 43 yards.

Meanwhile, a first half sack by outside linebacker Alex Highsmith extended Pittsburgh’s streak of having at least one sack to 65 games. That’s the second longest streak in NFL history, with the record held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (69 games between 1999-2003). Later in the game, Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt would combine for a second sack.

Last but not least, the Steelers were attempting to extend a franchise record of scoring 25+ points in seven consecutive games to start a season. But that record has been snapped by virtue of only posting 24 points.

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