This article was originally envisioned last week as a nod to the spate of aggressive “going for 2” play calling that has been going on recently in the NFL epitomized by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin who has almost totally eschewed his field goal kicker after touchdowns.
Tomlin set a NFL record last season (2015) when the Pittsburgh Steelers scored eight two-point conversions. In a game of inches and one point wins (and losses) that’s huge. It’s not only the in-game points but the in-game strategies the play has an impact on.
So it’s an easy-peasy post. Just line up the most aggressive play calling from the previous week and talk about the impact on the game. However …. while we were waiting for Sunday’s games to conclude ….
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh yesterday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys was a perfect (storm) example of how success or failure with the play impacts the outcome of a contest. In 2015 Tomlin was quoted as saying “Because we spend a lot of time working on it, we feel comfortable on offense and defense in that situation.” After the game against Dallas he may revisit that assessment.
“Because we spend a lot of time working on it, we feel comfortable on offense and defense in that situation,” Mike Tomlin
The Steelers went for and missed every 2 point conversion they attempted on Sunday going 0-4. Once they missed the first attempt they basically were chasing those points all day long.
Game Score Flow
(potential score in parents)
- Dal 0 Pit 6 (7) – Steelers score TD 9:54 1st Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
- Dal 3 Pit 6 (7) – Cowboys scores FG 5:20 1st Qtr
- Dal 3 Pit 12 (14) – Steelers score TD 1:18 1st Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
- Dal 10 Pit 12 (14) – Cowboys score TD :27 1st Qtr – Make Extra point
- Dal 13 Pit 12 (14) – Cowboys score FG 11:09 2nd Qtr
- Dal 13 Pit 15 (17) – Steelers score FG 4:47 2nd Qtr
- Dal 13 Pit 18 (20) – Steelers score FG 13:14 3rd Qtr
- Dal 16 Pit 18 (20) – Cowboys score FG 5:39 3rd Qtr
- Dal 23 Pit 18 (20) – Cowboys score TD 1:43 3rd Qtr – Make Extra Point
- Dal 23 Pit 24 (27) – Steelers score TD 7:56 4th Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
- Dal 29 (30) Pit 24 (27) – Cowboys score TD 2:00 4th Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
- Dal 29 (30) Pit 30 (34) – Steelers score TD :43 4th Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
- Dal 35 (37) Pit 30- (34) – Cowboys score TD :15 4t Qtr – Miss 2 pt. Conversion
At this juncture Twitter is on fire with Tomlin “going-for-2” memes after missing all four two point conversions and it’s a shame. Lies, damn lies and statistics. One game is too small a sample size to assess an outcome and fans tend to focus on the four failures without contemplating the seasonal impact.
As one can see even if the Steelers had kicked and made each of their extra point attempts they still would have come up a point shy of the Cowboys 35. That is a mark in the loss column any way you slice it. HOWEVER … if the Steelers make their conversions they win handily. Or more likely they make some early two point attempts and it changes the yes/no decision flow and then … the dominoes fall (perhaps) a different direction.
Bottom line at the end of the year a team will make/miss 2-point conversions approximately 50% of the time. The Steelers have already banked four misses. Statistically that means successful tries are in the near future. Don’t look for Tomlin to shy from the approach anytime soon. He’s already paid the heavy freight. Fans however may have a different opinion on the matter.
What say you Sports Nation? Another
Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over