Steelers coach Mike Tomlin should add a trick play into Big Ben’s arsenal

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Mandatory Credit: Caitlyn Epes/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Mandatory Credit: Caitlyn Epes/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Now and then, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin reaches into his bag of tricks for a gadget play for Ben Roethlisberger to run. Sometimes they work.

One example of a play that worked brilliantly was when he had Ben Roethlisberger run a fake spike against the Cowboys in 2017. Tomlin designed it after the famous fake spike thrown by Dan Marino in 1994, some 23 years earlier. As well as it worked in both situations, it’s surprising teams have not tried more often.

However, the way the season is going, there is a gadget play Tomlin could design, which could help the Steelers as far as shifting momentum at a crucial time. What would that play be? He should develop a fake kneel.

Steelers should add a trick play to the playbook

Some college teams have tried this, but you do not see it much on the NFL level, if ever. Lamar Jackson tried one with some mild success, but there has not been a fake kneel run, which led to a touchdown.  However, for some reason, one can envision Roethlisberger running such a play.

The timing for such a play has to be right in that there are not many options in which you would kneel the ball. Typically this will be when one team ends the half to go into the locker room and retool for the second half. Or if a team is ahead and wants to just end the half without running a play and risking injury. Opportunities limit the play.

That said, the Steelers could have utilized something like that in week one to help shift momentum before the end of the first half. They were down to the Bills, kneeled the ball, and went into halftime, and they had a prime opportunity to catch the Bill napping.

With Big Ben’s size, experience, and talent, he could pull something like that off.  How would the Steelers design such a play? Typically there are three players around the quarterback to protect the ball in case of a bad snap. The formation makes it easier to do something sneakier as it’s harder for the defenses to see what the quarterback might be doing.

So as Ben starts to kneel, have JuJu, Johnson, or even Claypool nonchalantly sneak down the field, and as Ben’s fake kneeling, no one may pay attention to the wideout sneaking down the field. The opportunity would be prime for Ben to hit his target on the backside of the defenders allowing him to race for a touchdown.

Related Story. Steelers QB report card: The end is near for Ben Roethlisberger. light

Trick plays are genius when they work and leave fans rumbling when they do not. While such a play may not work, teams have not utilized it much. Thus in the right situation, a similarly designed play at the right moment can catch a defense flat-footed. While the Steelers may never run it, it would be fun seeing Ben Roethlisberger try.