Steelers almost blew victory by scoring too fast on final possession

Why NFL coaches don't understand clock management better, we'll never know.

After Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell ran four yards to the Green Bay Packers' 1-yard line with 1:25 remaining in a 31-31 game, the Green Bay Packers called their final timeout. At this point, on second and goal, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin needed to instruct his players to get close to the end zone but not score.

There was too much time on the clock, even for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn (and certainly against the Steelers' defense), to just go in right away. Which, of course, is what Bell did.

Now maybe Tomlin, or another coach, told Bell not to score so the Steelers could run down the clock and kick a game-winning field goal with no time left. The risk is worth it, because this close to the end zone, a field goal of that length is about a 99-percent probability. It's possible the rookie Bell disobeyed their orders and just went in himself, or was not aware of the situation.

Heck, former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored late in Super Bowl XLVI even though Eli Manning and the coaches told him not to. The Giants, like the Steelers Sunday, got away with it. Both teams hung on to win.

But the Steelers almost paid for their mistakes. Flynn showed the Packers had plenty of time to tie the game and send it to overtime — they got to the Steelers' 5-yard line with nearly 30 seconds left! — had they not butchered their red-zone execution on the ensuing three plays. That's a discussion for another day.

Tomlin got lucky. He's already on the hot seat for the Steelers' disappointing season, and the sideline incident with Jacoby Jones made him look bad. Sunday's game against the Packers should have made him look bad as a coach, but this is the kins of play people tend to forget because the Steelers won.

But let the record show they were lucky in doing so.

- - - - - - -

Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next