Mike Tomlin wandered on the field of play during Jacoby Jones' 73-yard kickoff return. (AP)
Nine months ago, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco joked that he considered running on to the field and tackling the 49ers' Ted Ginn Jr. to preserve his team's Super Bowl XLVII win. On Thanksgiving night, Flacco thinks Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stole his bit. Flacco accused Tomlin of intentionally wandering onto the field and almost colliding with Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones during a long kickoff return Thursday night.
With the Steelers kicking off following a touchdown that drew them within 13-7 in the third quarter, Jones found himself running free down the sideline on a big return. But he appeared to slow up as he approached Tomlin -- standing with his back to the play -- on the white sideline stripe with his foot on the field. Jones was eventually tackled after a 73-yard return. The Ravens went on to kick a field goal in their 22-20 win.
Tomlin was not flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct but Flacco contends he should have been.
"That's exactly what he just did," Flacco said. "He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time, he knew where he was, he knew where Jacoby was. He pulled my move."
Tomlin claims he didn't he interfere with Jones, and his proximity to the play was not intentional.
"I always watch the returns on the JumboTron. It provides better perspective for me," Tomlin said. "I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play."
Several Ravens joked about what they considered to be Tomlin's gamesmanship after the game.
"I was wondering, did they credit him with the tackle on that?" coach John Harbaugh said. "I really don't know what to say about it other than stuff like that happens."
Jones admitted that Tomlin did cause him to slow a bit, but said the Steelers coach did not cost him a touchdown return.
"It broke my stride but I still shouldn't have got caught," Jones said. "If I was him, I'd do the same thing knowing I was back there."