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Big Ben says he’s not allowed to check to a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak


during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kevin C. Cox

In Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, the Steelers twice got stopped on fourth-and-1. On both plays, there appeared to be room in the middle of the line for Ben Roethlisberger to run a quarterback sneak for a yard. So why didn’t he?

Roethlisberger says he isn’t allowed to check out of the play that offensive coordinator Todd Haley calls and go to a quarterback sneak instead, even if he can see by the way the defense lines up that he’ll get the first down.

On his radio show this morning, Roethlisberger said it’s head coach Mike Tomlin’s call not to give him the freedom to audible at the line of scrimmage to a quarterback sneak.

“I have asked for it. I am fine with it. If they want to call it, I’m all for it,” Roethlisberger said, via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network.

After the loss to the Jaguars, Tomlin defended the decision not to run the quarterback sneak, saying the Jaguars are good at stopping it and that Tomlin was comfortable with the plays called. But to have a veteran franchise quarterback like Roethlisberger and not even give him the authority to call a quarterback sneak is odd. The Steelers might have won that game if they’d picked up those two fourth down conversions. Roethlisberger should have had the authority to make the best call.