OC Todd Haley explains what went wrong on final drive vs. Patriots

10:55 AM ETJeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writer CloseESPN staff writer
Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
University of Florida graduateFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprintcommentPITTSBURGH — Earlier in the week, quarterback and coach Mike Tomlin gave their side of how the Patriots game fell apart on the final drive. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s first time to address the media was Thursday, and his side added a new layer: The Steelers were expected to run an “incomplete or out of bounds” play on the second-to-last play. Once was tackled in bounds with 22 seconds to go, the plan to run a measured final play was foiled.

“You’re counting on having three shots at the end zone,” said Haley, including the overturned touchdown with 28 seconds left.

The Patriots won 27-24 on a cheap jerseys interception with 5 seconds to play, but of course the sequence wasn’t so simple. Here’s Haley’s full explanation:

Duron Harmon cheap jerseys cheap jerseys’s interception might not have happened had Darrius Heyward-Bey cheap jerseys gotten out of bounds the play before. Joe Sargent/Getty ImagesOn whether staff would have done anything differently on the final drive: “Yeah, have the first touchdown be a touchdown, No. 1. I know Coach [Tomlin] has talked about this a bunch, but the only thing I’ll say is that’s what we call an incomplete or out-of-bounds situation after the ball was ruled an incompletion. We don’t want the ball in the field of play there without a timeout. I’m never going to question Ben’s decision of thinking Hey-Bey could get out of bounds, but as far as scenarios, we’re in an incomplete or out-of-bounds situation. The clock will not be running if things go the way they’re supposed to go. Then you’re getting the guys on the field for each particular play you wanted on the field and you’re counting on having three shots at the end zone.”

On any regrets about not having in on the final play: “Not the first play. Again, it’s an incomplete or out of bounds. We teach the receivers if they don’t think they can get out of bounds to drop the ball as long as it’s not fourth down. Again, cheap jerseys both guys thought that it would go different and it didn’t. And it’s a great learning situation as far as that goes because we practice that every Friday. We go through the last seven plays incomplete or out of bounds. You can’t catch the ball if you can’t get out of bounds, and we got one caught in-bounds. So, Tay’s standing on the sideline next to me, but as far as the play, I called the best play I thought for the situation. And again, Tay hadn’t practiced where he would’ve been and we didn’t feel comfortable with him being in there. They made us hot, which caused a pressure situation. Ben got on the run and again, I won’t question his decision of thinking Hey-Bey could get out of bounds or in the end zone, but as it went, it didn’t work out that way.”

On the final play that led to an interception: “We just can’t throw an interception. Like I said, Coach has talked about that whole thing ad nauseam. We have a very big game for us — biggest game of the year for us this week. And we’ve got to be on it and go out and play our best game.”

On questions about whether Steelers should have had two plays ready to go in final sequence: “There are a lot of times we have two plays called in the huddle, but, again, that was an incomplete or out-of-bounds situation. You cannot in that situation get caught in the field of play, and again, we call plays accordingly. That would normally be A.B. coming across the field, which will get a lot of attention. We had four guys in the end zone. Like I said though, they made us hot which they hadn’t done all day, and we’ve got to make sure Hey-Bey is either able to get out of bounds or get the ball thrown away.”

On what it was like trying to handle play-calling once Heyward-Bey didn’t get out of bounds: “You can’t change personnel. You can’t do any of that. You’ve got to get up and do what we did. Make the decision of clocking it or fake clocking it and basically handling it how we did. We’ve just got to do it better.”

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