PITTSBURGH — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin defended his decision to wait to call his timeouts until late the in the first half of his team’s game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, despite coming up short on a last-second field goal attempt.
Tomlin chose not to call his timeouts before the two-minute warning, sacrificing at least 30 seconds of clock time with his defense on the field.
After holding the Titans to a field goal, the Steelers got the ball back with two timeouts and 12 seconds. They drive down to the Tennessee 39, but Chris Boswell’s 56-yard attempt fell short as time expired on the half.
Tomlin said he was focused more about the defensive drive than the was making sure his offense had enough time to score when he got the ball back.
“I was more concerned with stopping them than I was with creating a drive opportunity for us,” he said. “I wanted them to make decisions on going from second down to third down on time unless they burned one of their timeouts. They chose not to, and so the clock ran. We can get excited about subsequent drives, but you’ve got to get the stop first. And I didn’t take that for granted.”
Failing to score at the end of the half nearly loomed large, as the Steelers had to furiously defend a six-point lead at the end of the game instead of having a nine-point or more margin. But Joe Haden’s fourth-down stop stopped speculation that the Steelers hurt their own chances to add points to the board.