“I find comforting the fact that 7 is my quarterback,” Tomlin said. “If everybody on the field is uncomfortable, then that’s advantage Pittsburgh Steelers. And that’s why we chose not to spike the ball. We wanted to try to win that game in regulation. We knew that a spike, a fake spike, an incomplete pass and then running your field goal unit out, there were seconds there that I wanted to take advantage of that’s why we instructed him not to spike it. Given the opportunity to do that again, I’d do it again.”
Whether it was illegal under the defenseless player rules is a separate matter, and that is what is at question. All of this comes against the backdrop of the sport dealing with concussion issues and attempting to get certain types of hits out of the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles won again, pushing their record to 8-1 and giving them a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East. The Kansas City Chiefs also should cruise to the AFC West crown despite Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The same goes for the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFC and AFC North, respectively.
The other divisions may be in play, but the wild-card spots are not. In fact, using each team’s talent level — which takes into account a team’s actual record and what their record should be based on points scored and allowed — to simulate the season 1,000 times shows only a few playoff spots are still up for grabs.
Kyrie Irving did not play on Thursday due to a sore left shoulder that also kept him out of practice on Wednesday. Irving is the engine of the Celtics’ offense, so his absence was uniformly bad for the entire team on Thursday. The team managed only 80 points on 40.5 FG% and 24.1 3FG%, with no one scoring more than 14 points or turning in more than four assists. Marcus Smart (available in percent of leagues) started in his place on Thursday, and turned in 13 points (6-11 FG) with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 3-pointer and 4 TO against the 76ers. Terry Rozier was expected to play a larger role, but managed only 4 points (2-7 FG) with 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal and 2 TO in 20 minutes off the bench.