Posted by Will Brinson
Everyone knows the rules -- you get two challenges per game in the NFL, unless you win both of those, in which case you're awarded a third timeout. Mike Tomlin lost his second challenge of the first quarter during the Baltimore-Pittsburgh AFC divisional game. On the play in question (below), Ben Roethlisberger was mauled by Terrell Suggs and appeared to throw an incomplete pass, but never got a whistle from the refs, and therefore fumbled. Cory Redding scooped up the ball and scored.
Tomlin's first challenge was, oddly enough, on the first play of the game. He won that one (and got a whole 15 yards on a Baltimore return taken off!) but now the Steelers can't challenge a play for the remainder of the game.
This is highly significant, because given the way that Jeff Triplette's crew has called the game thus far, there's a reasonable chance that a red flag or two could be handy in the second half.
Although Tomlin's challenges aren't necessarily terrible -- the first one was an unfortunate early missed call and the second one, as you can see above, changed the entire nature of the game. Tomlin had no real choice but to challenge given the odd nature of the play.
Tomlin was clearly correct on his viewpoint of the first challenge, but there's a pretty good chance that those 15 yards won't be worth whatever (admittedly hypothetical) call goes against. Which is why you always want to try and save your challenges for as long as you can.
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