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Steelers vs Ravens Report Card

By Tyler Sweet

The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens has already been established as one of the best rivalries of this generation.   The rivalry between these two teams gives not only their respective fans, but all NFL fans a chance to witness a style of play that seems to be extinct amongst the rest of the league.  A smashmouth, hard hitting, and all out violent approach to this game twice a year makes Roger Goodell cringe.  Showcasing this rivalry on a national holiday in front of nearly every football fan in America, only made this pivotal divisional matchup that much more important.   The winner of this game would temporarily slide into the final wildcard spot in the AFC.  As the game unfolded Thursday night, another page to this incredible rivalry was written.  Unfortunately for the Steelers, this was a game they would love to have back.

 Offense

The offense could not get anything going whatsoever for the entire first half.  The Ravens defense came out ready to play and forced Ben Roethlisberger and the offense into several 3 and outs once again and held the offense under 100 total first half yards.  It wasn’t until the second half that Ben started to pick away at the defense and eventually put points on the board.  Rookie Le’Veon Bell finally broke lose for a 43 yard run to help set up Ben for a short touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders.  Bell added a short rushing touchdown to put the Steelers within reach.  Bell had a good game cut short after he dove into the endzone and was knocked unconscious with his helmet flying off.  Due to the NFL ruling of a dead ball at the moment the helmet comes off, the score was overturned and the Steelers watched their runningback wobble his way back into the locker room.

After a touchdown reception by Jerricho Cotchery with under 2 minutes to play, the Steelers put themselves a two point conversion away from tying the game.  With a back shoulder throw right into his hands, Emmanuel Sanders dropped the conversion that cost them the game.  With such bad special teams play, it would be hard to put too much blame on the offense, however when the time came for plays to be made, they failed to pull through several times.  I like the effort but unfortunately effort alone does not win games.  Overall Offensive Unit Grade: B

 Defense

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens must have watched what Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon did to the Steelers secondary the past couple weeks because they came out throwing deep.  Ike Taylor seemed to be chasing Torrey Smith  all over the field and was getting beat deep, or getting flagged for interference.   With players like Jason Worilds and Cameron Heyward playing outstanding football up front as of late, the lack of talent and/or consistency in the secondary is hurting this defense tremendously.  Although neither team forced any turnovers, both units played tough defense.  Pittsburgh gave up several plays but held the Ravens to field goals as opposed to touchdowns.  The problem, is that the Ravens made 15 points worth of field goals.  There were some good plays and the defense played hard, but points are points no matter how they get them.  This secondary must improve and with the season now almost completely out of their control, it just might be too late.  Overall Defensive Unit Grade: B+

 Special Teams

The horrible special teams play by the Steelers has finally caught up with them and many people will argue it cost them this game.  This rivalry has consistently come down to the final minutes and decided by 3 points or less, which would make special teams play even that more important.  In a game where points can be hard to come by, Shaun Suisham lined up for a long 50 yard field goal and started his approach almost before the ball was even snapped, causing the holder (McBriar) to hand the ball back to Suisham for a big loss and fantastic field position for the Ravens.  On a Ravens kickoff return later in the game, Jacoby Jones ran the ball down the far sideline and apparently was distracted as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was nearly on the field of play and made Jones hesitate enough to be caught from behind.  With the play now under review by the NFL, if it weren’t for Tomlin, this game could have been blown open early and the special teams would be the blunt of all criticism.   In my opinion, this unit deserved an F even before that return, so how can I grade something as bad as what I witnessed last night?  Absolutely horrible to watch and I put most of the blame for this game on this unit. Overall Special Teams Unit Grade: F-  (Because a simple F isn’t enough)

 

After starting 0-4 the Steelers have been playing “must win” football for most of this season.  This loss to the Raven was a huge blow to any chance they may have had at a playoff spot.  I was very happy at the way the Steelers came into Baltimore and was ready to fight.  It was a shame that a game of that magnitude had to be decided on a dropped pass, and horrible special teams play.

 

Please comment below with your thoughts on last nights game and what kind of grades you would give the Steelers for their performance.  You can also tweet us @SteelersGab or myself @Tylersweet87

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Joe

    November 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    This was a hard fought game that we lost. If they would have won the games they should have early in the season (Tenn, Minn, Oak) this game would not have made the playoffs so improbable.

  2. Ed

    November 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Ike Taylor is horrible and has been since 2006. Troy can no longer cover up this. Good bye Ike….I’d rather watch a rookie get burnt….at least he’d be a rookie!

  3. ironman666

    November 30, 2013 at 3:59 am

    it is really time to get rid of haly and take real look at tomlin and really think about for him to go on with his life work some where eles he never was a head couch why dont you think no one else wanted him and dont forget when he came to pgh he didnt have to do nothing every thing was all set up for him now that all the good players are gone now your seeing the real tomlin couching sorry tomlin you have to go and and take haly with you

    • Jalen

      November 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      What do you guys type with your knuckles?!? Sheesh! I understand a few grammatical typos but that’s as incoherent as anything! I do not like tomlin either bit he ain’t going anywhere so get used to him! Haley, in my opinion, is okay so long as he continues to let bb operate and call his own plays from the no huddle a growing percentage of the time. Two things you need to consider when calling for someone’s job is: who else out there to replace and, continually changing coordinators, especially offensive coordinators, really messes with an offense’s chemistry, particularly the quarterback’s. Keep Haley a little longer but give the offense to bb, ala Denver and Peyton Manning. That way you get to keep the chemistry while still allowing bb to run things a higher percentage of the time. Lack of cohesion and mistakes and the team looking flat is not on the OC by the way…it’s the HC’s job to make sure the team doesn’t come out flat for the first half of seasons and the first half of games! That’s all Tomlin and all you Tomlin supporters need to wake up and see how this guy allows the team to come out flat for quarters at a time and to start whole entire seasons flat and disinterested. Last year the defense was responsible for like two, maybe three losses whereas the offense was responsible for five maybe six losses. This year it is the exact opposite where the offense may have blown two or three games and the defense has sucked almost the whole season. What this tells me is that the offense is slowly turning the corner ( still need a franchise LT and a red zone weapon) whereas the defense is quickly turning the corner in the opposite direction! Gut, gut and cut the entire secondary (sans Allen and gay, youngsters like Thomas and Golden) this offseason which means Troy, Ike, Ryan all got to go! If I’m the Rooneys I’m letting Tomlin and Colbert that they’re both on some sort of unofficial clock. Leabeau needs to be respectfully asked to resign. His defense is tired and caught up to, uninspiring to the players at least from the outside looking in that’s what it seems like. Time to let butler instill a NEW and FRESH voice, even if his scheme is similar to lebeau’s, at least maybe his voice will jump start some of the youngsters which is what this defense, particularly the secondary, needs a massive infusion of!

  4. George H

    December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Well said Jalen. Agree 100%. It’s a sad day when Gay has become our best defensive back. Unfortunately Taylor isn’t going anywhere. He’s still owed like 10 mil next year and he just restructured.

    There are some bright spots on the D though. Heyward has looked like a stud and dolly Hood is making a case for another year, although I think he might just be playing for a new contract in the offseason. Timmons, Jarvis, and Worrilds are playing well. Worrilds is making a case to be resigned. I would love to resign him around 3 years for 12 mil and somehow trade Woodley and his contract for cap relief. I know the steelers don’t typically trade players, but it makes too much sense not to. I still think Cortez Allen can be a good player but he is having an awful year too.

    Troy is probably safe for next year, although I wouldn’t be shocked of he was cut or traded. Clark will not be resigned so Shamarko can take over. The defense needs an ILB because I don’t want to rely on Foote next year at his age and coming off an injury. Keisel will probably retire and Hood could leave for a bigger contract.

    I think we start Shamarko Thomas at FS. We bring in a new ILB via FA. Something like a small 1-2 year deal for a vet who is looking to stick around for a few more years but still has some productivity left and also draft the future ILB too. I think we need to bring in a big NT of let Woods get the chance to start and shift McLendon to DE to replace Hood. The problem with letting go of Troy means you have a huge hole to fill with no current options on the team to replace him and not a lot of draft picks and cap room to address it.

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