Tim Benz: Much airing of grievances as Steelers lose to Ravens | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

Tim Benz: Much airing of grievances as Steelers lose to Ravens

Tim Benz
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Ravens quarterback lamar Jackson gets away from the Steelers T.J. Watt in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Heinz Field.

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s turnover cost the Steelers the game. His overtime fumble allowed the Baltimore Ravens to kick a field goal and win 26-23 Sunday at Heinz Field.

That’s an obvious grievance.

Mike Tomlin’s call to defer after winning the overtime coin toss worked.

By his logic anyway.

But that decision is always the wrong one.

More on that in a separate column.

There. Now that we’ve gotten those two obvious entries out of the way, let’s air the rest of our grievances after the Steelers’ latest loss to fall to 1-4.

Wildcat becomes a kitten

On Tuesday, Tomlin said that the Steelers likely wouldn’t use the wildcat offense as much against Baltimore as they did against the Cincinnati Bengals last Monday night. He called it “gimmicky” and suggested the Ravens would be ready for it.

Plus, the Baltimore defense sees elements of it in practice with the way Lamar Jackson runs their offense.

Tomlin was right. That made sense.

Yet the Steelers went back to that well anyway. On the first drive, Mason Rudolph tried a fake jet sweep before throwing an incompletion.

Jaylen Samuels tried to throw a pass from his own 12-yard line on the second drive. It got intercepted by Josh Bynes.

“I shouldn’t (have thrown) it,” Samuels admitted. “I should’ve just run it.”

Also, Samuels got blown up running the wildcat on a second-and-1 from the Baltimore 7-yard line following Kameron Kelly’s interception of Lamar Jackson

You should’ve listened to your own press conference, Coach.

Unhappy returns

The Steelers’ return game still stinks.

On the first kick return, Johnny Holton received the ball two yards deep and only returned it out to the 11-yard line. On the second return, Ola Adeniyi was busted for a holding call during a Ryan Switzer return.

The best thing to happen to the Steelers was when Justin Tucker managed to boot a touchback. The Steelers turned that drive into a touchdown.

Thanks for the help, Justin.

Defensive deficiencies

Yes. The defense forced three turnovers. More to come on that.

It also had five sacks. Largely, a good day by Keith Butler’s unit.

But Devin Bush jumping offsides on a fourth-and-6 was inexcusable, when that’s exactly what the Ravens were trying to do.

At least he got an interception two plays later.

And for a unit that was so trusted that Tomlin deferred an overtime coin-toss win, they blew a fourth-quarter lead twice.

The game-tying field goal drive to force overtime was 45 yards.

The drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters which allowed the game to be tied at 20-20 went for 67 yards.

Although, to be fair, 15 of those yards leading to the Tucker’s field goal to tie it at 23-23 were the result of a rotten roughing-the-passer penalty on Adeniyi.

The officials

The fourth quarter roughing-the-passer call on Adeniyi was awful. I don’t think it was late. And, if it was low, it was only low because he got shoved in the back by a Baltimore offensive lineman.

“My guess is it was low,” Adeniyi said. “I thought I got him where his hip is. They never told me what it was. I don’t know if it was late or if it was low.”

When Stephon Tuitt got flagged for roughing the passer for a shove of Jackson on the sideline, was it really roughing the photographer? Didn’t that just look worse because a photographer was run over? Do they even flag that play if that didn’t happen?

Then, on the Steelers’ first interception, I was stunned that play wasn’t reviewed for pass interference. It sure looked like Minkah Fitzpatrick got there early.

Then again, after what happened last week with the Holton offensive pass-interference call against the Cincinnati Bengals, who knows what a penalty is and what isn’t.

Also, I think the Devin Bush interception should have been ruled a catch. It “deserved” to stand. But I’ve seen more obvious catches than that overturned before.

And, my god, how many conferences and unnecessary reviews can you cram into a game? I mean, were all 22 penalties — 11 for each team — necessary?


Sound familiar?

Much like the San Francisco game, the Steelers failed to make the most out of the other team’s carelessness with the football.

Baltimore’s first two turnovers only resulted in two Chris Boswell field goals. They took over on the Ravens’ 16-yard line the first time and the 25-yard line the second time. The only first down they got was via penalty, thanks to the Ravens’ Michael Pierce.

The drive after Kelly’s pick netted minus-7 yards.

If the Steelers get a touchdown out of at least one of those takeaways, they win the football game.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.