Yea, the grass is always greener on the other side, unless you are on the other side. I always wondered how that made sense. Whatever. This was a pretty crazy weekend for me personally because I was doing my actual job all weekend and wasn't able to watch the entire game. Who woulda thought that the job that actually pays me to do something would interfere with the Steelers. It is what it is as Mike Tomlin might say. Anyways this is going to happen over the next month or so where I will miss chunks of the game so therefore I will not have great recaps, but I will go over some of what I saw and what I heard today. Like it or not that's how it is.
Lets get started by talking about the main headline. This team is 3-1, without one of their best players. If you told me that the Steelers would be 3-1 during the four games that Ben missed then I would have taken it and ran with it. That being said it doesn't make this one hurt any less. The Steelers lost to their biggest rival and lost a division game right off the bat, which hurts pretty bad in the grand scheme of things. But, a lot better to be 3-1 than 2-2. All that being said the Steelers have the same record as the Ravens and only are in second place due to losing to them. Things are setting up alright.
The big story coming out of the game was Jeff Reed missing two field goals, either of which go through and the Steelers have a lot better chance of winning the football game. I think we are a big spoiled by Jeff Reed. Any other kicker out there misses two from 40+ yards and you will hear a lot of "oh well he was kicking at Heinz Field and it is tough to kick there", but Reed misses a 49 yarder and people act as if he shanked an extra point. Look I am not sticking up for Jeff Reed missing two field goals, because he is paid to make those kicks, but he was spoiled us. The way he has kicked on this field for the Steelers over his career has been nothing short of outstanding. He has pretty much been automatic, and in a sense he has set him self up for this criticism. Should he have made one? Yea, but misses happen. Sure it sucks that he missed two, but I doubt he misses too many more the rest of the season.
The second headline for me is the way the clock was managed after the Steelers got the ball back after stopping the Steelers on fourth and goal with over two minutes left. What did the Steelers do? They ran the football and killed as much of the clock as they could. They then punted from their end zone after going three and out. I heard all day on the radio and in print that the Steelers should have thrown and the play calling was bad and one caller actually said the Steelers "didn't run the right running plays". Good Lord are you people serious. Chuck Batch steps back to throw and gets picked or throws an incompletion and people are all over BA calling for his head. It is a no win situation for him there. I actually was more than ok with the play selection. You run the football and go for the first down that way. It is a gamble you take because Baltimore knew it was coming, and they stopped it. Kudos to them.
The second part of that final series was that the Steelers punted from their own end zone and among a handful of penalties gave Baltimore the ball on the Steelers 40 with over a minute to go. Some people actually had the gull to say the Steelers should have taken the safety with the punt and the Steelers so backed up. I almost pulled my hair out. So you are up four and you take a safety to be up two so a field goal beats you? Please if you think that the Steelers should have taken a safety, never talk football again.
Ike Taylor finally caught an interception. Let that sink in for a second.
Yes, Ike Taylor caught a pick. Pretty unreal. He should rock the pink gloves every week. The turnover leads me to my next point and that is the Steelers getting nothing off their turnovers. Granted Reeds missed kicks were no help to that, but the offense was dead after the defense gave them the ball back. Can't happen. That is one of the big reasons why the Steelers lost. Down by three to the Ravens and they get two HUGE turnovers and they get no points from those. Get some points there and this game is vastly different.
Talking about not turning the ball over you also can't commit 11 penalties for 88 yards. Inexcusable. Two of them came on the last offensive/punt drive that set up the Ravens with great field position. This is something that is not typical for a Steelers team so I am not really going to worry about it too much until it happens more often. Games like this are going to happen, but it hurts when it is a close game where one play or penalty can drastically alter the outcome.
I thought the defense was pretty good all together. The beginning was tough to start with in the secondary but I thought they got better through the game. The Ravens did a really nice job of keeping more blockers in than there were rushers. They kept Flacco protected and it gave him time to see what was going on and make the plays that he needed to make. Lawrence Timmons again played a pretty unreal game and is actually now the leading tackler in the NFL. His name is starting to get out there as he has been the defensive MVP of the Steelers so far this season. They could have played a little better I guess, but anytime you give a team 40 yards to go and a minute and a half on the clock you expect them to score. The defense was put in a bad spot and it showed.
Thank God Ben is coming back. Chuck did a pretty nice job yesterday but you can really see that we need Ben to come back. As a fourth QB Chuck gave us more than we could ask for and got a big win against Tampa Bay but it is what it is. Baltimore is no Tampa Bay and that showed. He didn't make the mistakes, but you have to think that if Ben was in there the Steelers woulda scored a few more points and been more effective on the passing game. Thanks Chuck, but you can have a seat now.
Well there are other things but like I said I didn't watch enough of the game to comment and to be honest the Steelers lost and this sucks. There is a bye week so we can get some of our lineman healthy and get Ben some reps and get ready for the Browns on the other side.
3-1 with 12 games left and Ben is back. Buckle up.