Monday Buzz Column
“We play not to lose.”
That’s not what Marvin Lewis said after his Bengals lost to the Steelers on Sunday but he could have.
Remember what Mike Tomlin said when he was asked about going for it successfully on fourth down twice against the Redskins, including a long touchdown pass?
He said, “We play to win.”
After a pass interference penalty, the Bengals were set up with a first and goal at the one-yard line with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
The Steelers were leading 17-6.
After losing a yard on a run up the middle, Andy Dalton’s pass to C.J. Uzomah was ruled incomplete when he landed out of bounds in the back of the end zone.
Despite the replay showing Uzomah’s foot and a knee landing in bounds, Lewis, for some reason, decided not to throw the challenge flag.
On third and goal from the two, Dalton threw a hideous pass into the end zone dirt.
So, with 2:32 left in the third quarter, Lewis decided to kick a 21-yard field goal.
(Let’s pause here for a reminder. I’ve been saying for several years now that the NFL would be doing football fans everywhere a huge favor if it decided to eliminate the goal posts and Lewis’ decision to bore millions of people with a 21-yarder is a perfect example of why.)
As soon as Mike Nugent’s kick cleared the cross bar, the Bengals’ team bus should have rolled out onto Heinz Field. Lewis should have signaled for his players to board and they should have left for the airport.
Marvin had packed it in.
By making it 17-9, Lewis still would have needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion just to tie the Steelers.
That’s called a two score game.
After what had just happened on first and goal from the one, why would he have any confidence in his team’s ability to get the two points?
Mike Tomlin gets a lot of criticism from Steelers fans and the local media for his game management, but you can be sure he would have gone for six in that situation.
Maybe he wouldn’t have made it, but Tomlin’s approach is going to win more big games in the long run.
-Have you seen enough of Ivan Nova? If you listened to some of the local talk shows, you would think this guy is Bob Gibson.
Fans and a few hosts have been calling on the Nutting family to throw $45 or $50 million at him to keep him from signing somewhere else after becoming a free agent at the end of the season.
Sunday in Cincinnati, he gave up four earned runs on 10 hits in three innings and took his first loss since coming to the Pirates in trade with the Yankees.
That raised his ERA to 4.19, which is just below his career number of 4.30. This is a guy the Pirates have to have?
Nova may have looked like a Hall of Famer since arriving in Pittsburgh but he was also making his first National League go-around after spending his entire career in the American League.
National League hitters hadn’t seen much of him.
Sunday’s three inning wipeout was the Reds’ third look at him this season. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Nova might be a good guy for the Pirates to keep for pitching depth, but people who want to throw huge, multi-year money at him need to calm down.
-I haven’t watched every minute of Team Canada’s games in the World Cup of Hockey but I’ve seen enough of Sidney Crosby on the ice with some of the best players in the world to know that he’s still the best player in the NHL and it’s not close.