Tim Benz: Much airing of grievances as Steelers lose to Ravens
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.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 6, 2019
“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.
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.
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.
PLAYMAKER. 😤 @_Dbush11
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2019
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 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.
DISGUSTING CALL – I can’t stop throwing up pic.twitter.com/Q2CoceZGf8
— Dave Dameshek (@Dameshek) October 6, 2019
“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.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
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?
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.