Tomlin explains why Big Ben played entire game

Steelers fans were thrilled to watch their team blast the Dolphins in Sunday's wild-card tilt, but one curious question lingered after the win:

Why was Ben Roethlisberger still whipping passes in the final minutes of Pittsburgh's 30-12 romp over Miami?

After all, Big Ben wound up tweaking his foot on his final throw of the game and spent the night in a walking boot. He's now boot-free and ready to go for Sunday's clash with the Chiefs, but that didn't stop reporters from asking coach Mike Tomlin about playing his quarterback until the final minutes.

"We felt his presence in the game would lead us in terms of closing the game out," Tomlin said of Big Ben on Tuesday. "We had every intention of working to close the game out with (backup running back) DeAngelo (Williams) and (Ben's) presence on the field would aid in that, not only because of his presence, but a lot of our game is check-oriented, based on what we saw from the defense."

Said Tomlin: "He had a better part of the game to see those checks, and to put us in the appropriate calls in an effort to do it. Now, I take responsibility for throwing on third down (with less than five minutes left in the game). I got a little overaggressive there. It goes beyond taking responsibility. I made the call. So don't ask (play-caller) Todd (Haley) about it on Thursday. I made the call and I take responsibility."

Asked if Roethlisberger's late-game injury would prompt him to use backup Landry Jones much earlier next time, Tomlin said, "It really depends on circumstances. There's no cookie cutter in terms of making those decisions."

It was controversial for Tomlin to have his franchise passer slinging the ball with the game completely over, but there's another side to this argument: Plenty of conservative-minded teams are home watching the playoffs on the tube like the rest of us.

Tomlin has operated as one of the league's most aggressive risk-takers -- and the results speak for themselves. If his decisions are sometimes intriguing, he also has Pittsburgh in a place every deep-sixed squad longs to be.