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Game Four: Late Defensive Collapse leads to 17-14 loss to Ravens

The good news – the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger is over and your are 3-1. The bad news – you were :55 away from being 4-0.

After playing almost perfect football for the first three weeks of 2010, the Steelers, and more so their defense, came crashing back down to earth in the final minute Sunday, allowing a late Ravens drive that cost the Steelers a 4-0 record as they fell 17-14.

The Steelers led 14-10, and held Baltimore on downs at the Steelers two with 2:40 to play. The Steelers decided to play it safe and run clock, and were forced to punt from the three with 1:08 left.

The Ravens took the ball over after a bad holding call on the punt at the Steelers 40, and Joe Flacco needed just four plays to drive Baltimore the distance, the final 18 yards coming on a double move by wide out T.J. Houshmandzadeh as he beat Bryant McFadden for the final dagger.

The four plays took just :21 seconds, and you could hear the wind go out of Heinz Field after all the emotion of what looked like a win just two minutes before.

Ray Lewis ended any doubts on first down as he picked off a Charlie Batch pass at the Steelers 36 to give the Ravens the ball back to down it for the win.

Batch did what he had to do, leading the team on a drive that covered 93-yard drive that went almost 7 minutes, and ended with a Rashard Mendenhall TD that could have been the margin of difference to make it 14-10.

Another key factor in the loss was the Steelers third quarter in which they had two turnovers from Baltimore, a fumble and interception, but Jeff Reed missed two field goals to keep the Ravens ahead 10-7.

The Steelers enter the bye at 3-1, but a loss to the Ravens is always tough to swallow, more so one that should have been a win like Sunday.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. mark

    October 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    OK, lets start with 11 penalties for 90 yards. How about Reed missing 2 FG? How about after the go-ahead TD, Reeds KO coming up WAY short and giving the Ravens the ball at the 35? Then we can go to Arians, or whoever makes the call, not throwing 1 PASS in order to ice the game? 1 first down and the game is over, do you really think you can run 3 times for 10 yards on the Ravens with the game on the line? Matt Spaeth would get cut tonight, Kemoeatu would be forced to watch “Bridges of Madison County” as punishment for his false start deep in their own teritory. As for Reed, if he was dismissed right now, I wont shed a tear, and this is after years of supporting him.
    The secondary at the corners is so mediocre, that I feel like I am praising them when I say it! The middle of the defense, in passing situations is horrible as well. When Tomlin speaks of “the standard not changing no matter who is playing” sure didnt play like it today. If you have faith in Batch and praise his starting ability, you should have called for 1 pass to Miller, Randle-El or Ward with the game on the line. Miller and El were starting to confuse the Ravens and a completion to either ends that game. What I am saying is, Arians would have had Ben throw 1 time at least in this situation.(standard doesnt change?) Batch didnt get that same opportunity.This was a BAD loss. 3-1 is nice, 4-0 is better all day long. The Steelers pissed that game away and the flags thrown their way did NOT help. I cant wait to respond to the rest of my Steeler breathren who comment here today.

    • larry

      October 4, 2010 at 1:22 am

      You would have to stupid to believe Tomlin when he said things wouldn’t change with Batch in there. There is a huge drop off and you can’t ask Batch to do what Ben does.

    • Jay

      October 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

      I agree, Mark, lip service is what we got from Tomlin on the Batch thing. It’s obvious, after watching Batch these past two games, that he is simply not comfortable throwing the ball in the intermediate range and over the middle where most of the defensive congestion is…Too many reads and too much risk…He seems comfortable with lower percentage, easier reads such as deep balls….When is the last time you saw a QB throw more or the same amount of deep balls as other types of passes? BB in there and we win, ’nuff said. Oh, I also heard someone on the radio say the better team won??? Really, because I couldn’t tell which team was better; both looked like they were trying to give the other team the game!

  2. WarrenQ

    October 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Ray Lewis made the interception at the end of the game…not Terrell Suggs.

    • mark

      October 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      Like it matters who picked the pass?

  3. jay

    October 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Here are my arguing points:
    One: Bruce Arians is a complete and utter fucking deusch bag!!!!! I don’t know why we CAN’T run behind the largest left side of an offensive line in the NFL but the fact remains we can’t! Why is BA calling a run left on third and 8 form inside the five!? I do not have a problem calling a run but you’ve been relatively successful running right all game and Suckass BA says, Oh, we’ll catch em off guard here and run left where we’ve had no success> IT’S THE RAVENS, ARIANS, YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!!! NOT UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE!???
    Two: We did everything in our power to give the Ravens this game; they did nothing to win it save an early offensive drive which I have no problem with BUT the less than 30 second 3 play drive is unacceptable!
    Three: 11 penalties, really? Are you kidding me! Shame on pittsburgh and the refs for allowing that to happen. No discipline on steelers end and as usual, refs have their heads up the collective asses!
    Four: Our defensive secondary play was shaky all afternoon, not just the last drive. Ryan Clark is a SS playing FS; can hit but can’t cover! We desperately need a 1st Round DB in the draft!
    Five: The o-line generally gave Batch all kinds of time to throw but in the first half it looked like Charlie didn’t know how to read a defense? There was no Ed Reed! No real playmakers in that secondary for Baltimore yet Batch made them look like a bunch of all pros! I thought that 93 yard drive would’ve been signature had the Steelers won, however.
    Six: Bruce Arians still proves to be an overall subpar offensive coordinator who has been rescued by his defense in all but this game so far this year. Going deep on third and one, running left, that horrid display at the end of the game at the goal line and not getting Batch into any type of rhythm all game until it was too late.
    Seven: It really might be true what everyone says…Pittsburgh play better when their backs are against the wall than when they do well…Last year everyone said steelers couldn’t repeat and we came out and compiled a 7-2 or 7-4 record or something…then, we lost five in a row…this year everyone said we’d suck without Big ben, we come out swinging to a 3-0 record, then when everyone starts singing our praises, we put out a piss poor performance like this!?!

    Seven points, glad to get number 7 back, Arians, you’re on the clock and so is a top flight first round DB, hopefully!

  4. jay

    October 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Sshh, sshh, sshh, everyone….Deion Sanders is about to speak on NFL Network….We must be quiet and listen to his highness, all mighty Deion…His wisdom is captivating, his presence is awe-inspiring, his language is mystical, his outfits are dapper, he is so suave, his knowledge is without equal, he was the greatest tackling DB in NFL history, always humble, always quiet, never end zone celebrating….We all love Deion Sanders!!!!!

  5. Mike

    October 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Is there a single Steeler fan that would not have taken 3-1 four weeks ago? Heart wrenching loss, yes but let’s keep it in perspective.

  6. larry

    October 4, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Towards the end of the 3rd quarter the Steelers ran several pass plays while being within Reed’s field goal range. They were driving toward the open end and you could clearly see the flags were blowing in their faces. If they ran the ball a few times, they would have easily switched sides with the change of the quarter. Would have been a much easier kick and would have tied the game up.

  7. nancy

    October 4, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Why put the blame on Charlie? He did a great job, and since he was listed as number four all along, going in when no one else could play. Lets talk about Reed, who is THE kicker, supposed to make those points, to save the team when offense could not get on the board…..? AND just where was the defense this game? Seems like they stayed home! I say “Hats off to Charlie” for stepping up to the plate when he did and got the team to 3-1. At least he did NOT get hurt as did the other two that were number one and number two.

    • mark

      October 4, 2010 at 10:36 am

      Nancy, I agree with the assessment of Batch. I cant blame him for this loss. Sure, a better 1st half might have aided the team, but he didnt hurt them with a bad INT or fumble. As far as Reed is concerned, I feel about him the same way I feel about Ryan Clark. That is, they are good but the position could be upgraded. Reed has missed too many kicks this year all ready to warrant a BIG contract at seasons end. I have to think this is his last year in Pittsburgh. The defense played well enough to win that game. The reality of it is, they didnt come up with the stop at the end. Thats all that we fans will judge them on. Maybe if the offense had generated the first down we needed to put that game away the possession before hand, the defense would be getting praise for the previous goal-line stand they had? Oh-well, 3-1 and Ben is back. Lets start thinking about the Browns now.
      Oh and one more thing: TOO MANY FLAGS!!! Was the fix in?? Sucker bet game. Steelers at home and regarded as home ‘dogs?? Money flies in on the 3-0 Steelers and POOF! 11 flags for 90 yards. They had 11 penalties in 3 games combined before this. Makes you wonder huh?

  8. DrGeorge

    October 5, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Nobody reasonably expected a 35-year-old fourth string QB to play like Ben. But then, if that’s what an offensive coordinator has to work with, he adapts the game plan to that QB’s talents. Instead, Arians continued to call plays that Batch and the offense couldn’t execute and he still does not understand the rushing game. My colleagues above have it right.

    But the larger problems remain on defense. The Ravens tried to give this game away, and we were ahead — but the defense gave the gift back throughout the game, but especially late in the fourth quarter. Sound familiar?

  9. Jay

    October 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

    In a very un-Dr.-George-like-vernacular….Man Fuck Bruce Arians!!! He’s the worst thing that’s happened to this team in a while in my opinion! Yeah, the defensive issues are there but tehgoal line stand shoulda been the thing we’re talking about in lieu of the defensive collapse at the end! Which means that the offense needed to get a first down AT HOME with an improved running game…I go back to the little, observable things like, we haven’t been able to run left botyh all game and allyear so far, yet Asshole Arians calls a run left from inside the five on third and 8 or whatever! Either run right and let Rashard bounce it outside to at the very least and worst case scenarion, give you some punting room OR throw a play action pass or roll Batch out!

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