Tomlin Will Take Heat For Handling Of Big Ben

Mike Tomlin's handling of Ben Roethlisberger may have cost the Steelers on Sunday

Reiter Than You
December 10, 2018 - 9:37 pm

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The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 24-21 to the Raiders on Sunday, and Ben Roethlisberger spent most of the second half on the sideline.

Roethlisberger left the game with a rib injury but returned to the sideline in the third quarter. Yet, he did not return to action until late in the fourth quarter, as Pittsburgh (7-5-1) suffered its third straight loss.

Should Steelers fans be more upset with Big Ben for not re-entering the game sooner, or with Mike Tomlin for holding Big Ben out?

“I would guess more of the heat ends up falling in the direction of Mike Tomlin,” CBS Sports senior NFL writer Will Brinson said on Reiter Than You. “With Mike Tomlin, you have the guy who’s managing Big Ben’s injury. It wasn’t his job to manage Le’Veon Bell’s situation, but he was dealing with the drama surrounding all of that. It’s crazy how the offense has looked. It set the world on fire and they won six straight games. But beginning of the season, it was slow and sluggish out of the gate. They haven’t won a game since before Thanksgiving. It’s time to win a game. What are you doing? When you flounder like that down the stretch as coach Mike Tomlin is, I think it ultimately will be Tomlin who gets more of the heat from the fan base and from ownership than Big Ben.”

While the Steelers have lost three straight, the Cowboys (8-5) have won five straight – and Amari Cooper is the main reason why. Cooper has 40 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns in six games for Dallas.

“I was wrong about the Amari Cooper trade,” Brinson said. “Jerry Jones is owed an apology. It was a smart move to go get Amari Cooper. He has changed that team dramatically.”

The Cowboys are averaging 4.3 more first downs per game with Cooper in the lineup. They’ve gone from converting less than one-third of their third downs to converting almost half.

Still, they aren’t scoring enough.

“Their efficiency metrics are through the roof,” Brinson said. “They had 32 first downs and ran 93 plays against the Eagles, and they scored 29 points – and needed overtime to do it. That doesn’t add up. So I think that at some point in the playoffs, Jason Garrett playing for field goals and being conservative is going to cost them.”