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Mike Tomlin’s Challenge Win a Long Time Coming

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For the first time since 2017, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin won a challenge on Monday night.

Tomlin successfully overturned the spot on a fourth-down run by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that gave the Steelers the ball instead of a Miami first down.

The play turned out to be pivotal, as the Steelers used the short field to set up a James Conner touchdown and put the game out of reach.

But Tomlin even though he got a good look at the play, Tomlin wasn’t exactly sure he’d get this one. After all, he couldn’t exactly have much confidence with 11 straight red flags getting handed back to him in a losing effort.

“I didn’t feel any better about that challenge than I do many of the ones that I lost,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “I felt good about it, but I felt good about the ones that I’ve lost. So, you never know what you’re going to get.”

The one thing that did give Tomlin some confidence was that he was standing right at the first-down sticks when the play was run and he had a pretty good look at it with his own eyes before he saw the replay.

“I saw it from the field,” he said. “You know, sometimes when you’re on the field and you’re at the line to gain, you have a perspective. So, I didn’t necessarily need the replay. I was on field level.”

To put some context into how long it’s been since Tomlin won a challenge, it was also against the Dolphins — in the teams’ meeting in the playoffs after the 2016 season. That spot call was also overturned when then-Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (now with the New York Jets) was ruled short of the end zone after a tackle by Donald Butler and Terrence Fede, who are both now out of the NFL.

Since then, Tomlin lost challenges on a Tom Brady quarterback sneak, a Blake Bortles pass to Keelan Cole, a Ben Roethlisberger incomplete pass top Antonio Brown, a Dustin Colquitt punt being downed by the Kansas City Chiefs, a would-be interception on an Andy Dalton pass, another downed kick, this time by Sean Davis, a Lamar Jackson run, the spot on a Ryan Switzer catch, the spot on a Juju Smith-Schuster catch, yet another punt downed by the Patriots.

This season, for the first time, NFL coaches are allowed to challenge pass interference. Tomlin did so once, his only challenge prior to Monday this season, when he challenged an offensive pass interference penalty against Johnny Holton against the Seattle Seahawks.

He didn’t get that one, either.

Steelers

Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname

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Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.

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Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast

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The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.

The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.

The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.

That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.

The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.

The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.

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What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?

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The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.

What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.

In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.

Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.

In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.

More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team. 

The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.

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