Tomlin decries Mitchell's late dive

ByScott Brown ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

PITTSBURGH -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan called Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell's last-second dive over the line of scrimmage Sunday "bush league."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin agreed with him.

"It was not professional," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "We don't want to play football like that. Mike is an emotional guy, he's new to us, learning how we do business."

Mitchell tried to time the snap at the end of the Jets' 20-13 win over the Steelers, and he flew over the line of scrimmage. What angered Ryan and the Jets was that New York had made it clear by its formation that quarterback Michael Vick intended to take a knee and run out the clock after a failed onside kick attempt by the Steelers.

Tomlin said he did not sign off on Mitchell's last-gasp attempt to force a turnover, although the eighth-year coach added that there may have been miscommunication between the two.

"He came over and said something to me prior to that sequence on the sideline," Tomlin said. "I couldn't hear what he said. I just kind of acknowledged him and nodded. I guess that he assumed that I gave him those instructions, the OK for him to do that. I showed that play to the team yesterday and just wanted to be very clear about how we play and what it is we value. We had many snaps in which to secure victory in that football game and didn't. We'll educate Mike and move forward."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh that he understands why the Jets took such exception to Mitchell's play.

"I know our guys would go nuts, and guys would probably come off the bench," Roethlisberger said when asked of the potential reaction had the situation been reversed. "Usually in that situation there's a little bit of talk between the [offensive] line, [defensive] line, 'Listen, we're going down.' Usually there's an understanding between guys. They don't fire off the ball most of the time, and it's not quitting but just understanding that you're not trying to get anybody hurt. When Mike did that it kind of surprised us all, but I think it will be a dead issue now."

Roethlisberger took issue with a hit he absorbed from Jets outside linebacker Jason Babin earlier in the game. Roethlisberger stopped after taking a snap early in the second quarter when officials blew the whistle for a delay-of-game penalty. Babin did not stop playing, and he hit Roethlisberger below the waist, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.

Babin said he charged Roethlisberger because he didn't hear the whistles that ended the play just as it started.

"You can always say, 'I didn't hear the whistle, I didn't hear the whistle,' but why would I just be standing there and basically flipped the ball to the ref and everyone has stopped and then you go for my legs?" Roethlisberger said. "It upset me. I didn't think it was a good play."

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