Clock/game management – With a game like this when it seemed like everything was clicking for the Steelers, it’s difficult to find something that is glaringly bad. However, the clock/game management from Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley had a few moments that were just plain bad. Let it be known that I am not a fan of the ‘4th down let’s try and draw the defense offsides by doing a ton of hard counts and then call a timeout when it doesn’t work.’ The percentage of that actually happening is low, and I really don’t understand why coaches think they can ‘get away’ with trying to pull that little trick and then wasting a time out. Tomlin/Haley decided to do that midway through the first half, and wasted a timeout trying to get a disciplined Browns defense to jump. That timeout came and bit them in the rear later on in the half as they tried to work their way down the field before the half ended. They were a timeout short, and I believe it affected the play calling to work against what was working well for the Steelers up to that point.
The play calling coming out of a timeout was also frustrating at the end of the first half. I don’t understand why coaches don’t call two plays for an offense when they are in hurry up mode and coming out of a timeout? The Steelers took a timeout late in the first half while driving down the field in hurry up mode. They came out of the timeout with a pass to Heath Miller for 13 yards that took the offense down to the Cleveland 14. Because they blew the timeout earlier in the game, they needed to preserve their last one to set up a field goal if they couldn’t get into the end zone, so Big Ben spiked the ball instead. I really hate that, and I think it’s bad coaching when you can’t come up with two or three plays to give your QB once you come out of a timeout and huddle up. It wasted a down for the Steelers, and Ben threw two more incomplete passes forcing the Steelers to kick a field goal at the end of the half.