The Pittsburgh Steelers chances of making the playoffs went down the drain after a 34-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Heinz Field.
“Not enough playmaking for us in any of the three phases to secure victory,” coach Mike Tomlin said after the game. “Obviously, there was enough playmaking by them.”
With no timeouts on fourth-and-4 from the Pittsburgh 26, Ben Roethlisberger took the snap just before the clock zero.
Emmanuel Sanders caught the pass and made it 20 yards, then flipped the ball to Jerricho Cotchery, who handed it to Le’Veon Bell, who then tossed it to 330-pound tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert swung it to Roethlisberger, who ran to the Pittsburgh 33 before throwing the ball to Antonio Brown, who took the ball down the sideline and crossed the goal line.
However, an official pointed at the turf and ruled Brown’s left foot stepped out of bounds at the Miami 12.
“I thought he was in, but obviously I didn’t have the perspective of whether or not he stepped out of bounds,” said Tomlin. I knew he went into the end zone standing up. That I could see. Obviously, his perspective on whether or not he was in bounds or out of bounds over there was much better than mine.”
Tomlin said he didn’t allow himself to think the Steelers had won.
“No. I saw his motion before [Brown] even went into the end zone,” he said. “That’s just regular mechanics. You watch the officials that are watching the sideline, particularly in moments like that. He was very definitive and very clear about what he saw over there, so there was no emotional roller coaster ride of any kind whatsoever.”
The Steelers (5-8) lost their second straight to all but end any outside shot of making the playoffs.
“I really hadn’t taken the time, obviously, to process it,” Tomlin said. “We understood what was at stake in terms of us and this football game, specifically. We’ll take responsibility for whatever transpires. We understand the gravity of these moments.”
Roethlisberger completed 23 of 39 passes for 349 yards and three scores. Bell led the way on the ground for the Steelers with 61 yards rushing on 15 carries, while Brown finished with five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.