Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is getting shelled on Twitter by NFL media and fans alike, who can’t make sense of his decision to call for a fake field goal late in the first half of Sunday’s 15-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.
To recap what happened: With less than two minutes to go in the second quarter, Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell trotted onto the field to attempt a 28-yard field goal, one that would have given Pittsburgh a 6-3 lead. Except Tomlin elected to have Boswell attempt a pass, with disastrous results.
Not only did Boswell’s pass fall incomplete, he appeared to take a helmet-to-helmet shot from Browns defender Jordan Elliott just after he released the ball. Boswell was injured on the play, and soon afterwards was ruled out for the remainder of the contest after “being evaluated for a concussion.”
NFL Media, Fans React to Failed Fake Field Goal
Jake Trotter, who covers the Browns for ESPN, called it “one of the dumbest fake field goals you’ll ever see.”
Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN, noted how Tomlin created a worst case scenario by not only failing to convert on the fake, but also by getting his uber-accurate kicker injured during what seemed destined to be a one-score game.
Another journalist—Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle—referenced a Tomlinism, tweeting, “I wish you would have lived in your fears and not tried that fake field goal.”
Most NFL fans were a lot less diplomatic, with many resorting to using profanity in their tweets, like Evan James Staves:
Many others actively called for Tomlin to be fired for the decision, with one fan referring to it as “one of the worst coaching decisions I’ve seen in 50 years of watching football.”
Even Tomlin’s biggest supporters hated the call, with one saying, “I love Mike Tomlin but this game is solely on him if we lose…. Absolutely idiotic!”
Mike Tomlin: The Fake Field Goal Was a ‘Bad Call’
After the game, Tomlin stood before the assembled media and took responsibility for what he admitted was a lousy decision.
“The fake field goal was a bad call because we poorly executed it, so I take responsibility for that. I appreciate the guys backing my play and fighting for 60 minutes and delivering a victory and making it a side note.”
He also confirmed that Boswell is in the concussion protocol, as per Brooke Pryor of ESPN.
The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
Chris Boswell Successfully Executed a Fake Field Goal Attempt in 2018
For what it’s worth, Chris Boswell did throw for a touchdown on the only other occasion in which he was charged with using his arm to try to score points. In 2018, he tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Alejandro Villaneuva against the Denver Broncos, also on a fake field goal try down near the opponent’s goal line.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!