The Baltimore Ravens threw the ball just 17 times and probably didn’t even have to throw it that much as they ran roughshod over the Pittsburgh Steelers today. The 16-14 loss leaves the Steelers’ postseason chances on life support. Here are my rapid-fire thoughts on the game.
-Kenny Pickett (0/1 1 sack)now has two concussions this season. That’s unfortunately something that needs to be monitored. He didn’t look good at all in his few snaps. It was clear the Ravens did a nice job of confusing him with coverages as he resorted to scrambling on his first couple of drops.
-I don’t think there’s any doubt the Steelers have to upgrade on the OL especially left tackle. That said, they could stand to address the entire line. The consistency just isn’t there and it’s needed if this team is going to get better.
-Matt Canada has to design more plays and opportunities for George Pickens (3 Rec 78 yards) to get some balls. he was targeted just three times and Pro Bowl CB Marlon Humphrey struggled with him on each of those catches. It’s just inexcusable to me that a player as dynamic as he is gets three balls thrown his way.
-Mitchell Trubisky (22/30 276 yards 1TD/3INT) came off the bench and looked good. That disappeared immediately with three interceptions in his next four possessions. His three picks were bad throws, period. They weren’t deflections or mishandled balls, they were bad throws.
-Najee Harris (12 rushes 33 yards TD, 2 Rec 17 yards) is a nice running back and in his defense, if he had a better offensive line maybe he’d be better. but the reality is that Jaylen Warren (3 rushes 11 yards, 2 Rec. 16 yards) is often just as dynamic without the first round pedigree. Perhaps the Steelers would have been better off investing in their O-Line rather than skill positions in recent years.
-How many more times do we need to see Gunner Olszewski lead blocking on a jet sweep that goes nowhere? It’s the definition of insanity. These plays are going nowhere.
-Every time I think Pat Freiermuth is ready to make that jump into the upper echelon of tight ends, he comes back down to Earth a bit. Three catches for 33 yards and a score is nice but I think he’d be the first to tell you he can be more effective.
-The run defense that was given a reprieve the last two weeks was exposed today. The Steelers have to get younger up front. BAL O-Line is good but we shouldn’t be getting run over like that.
-Any time you give up 16 points in the NFL you have to expect your offense to score more. Defense was bad today but they deserved better.
-T.J. Watt is giving it his best but he’s just not healthy. I say it every week in this space but it’s true. He ended up with 5 tackles and a sack but you can see him laboring especially when he’s in pursuit.
-Minkah Fitzpatrick (11) and Terrell Edmunds (9) combined for 20 tackles today. Granted, Edmunds plays around the line a lot but that’s a telling story isn’t it? When your safeties are making that many tackles it means the front seven aren’t stopping the run.
-The Minkah Fitzpatrick hit that knocked Tyler Huntley out of the game should have never been flagged. Yes, they pickup up the flag but it’s another sign of how pathetic things are these days.
-Right now the Steelers have three stars on this unit. Watt, Fitzpatrick and Cam Heyward. No one will want to admit it but Heyward’s decline is beginning. They have to get better on all three levels of the defense, it’s really that straightforward.
-A blocked field goal and a 17-yard punt. Not a solid day.
-Mike Tomlin should have attempted the onside kick. BAL had already rushed for over 200 yards. What made him think he could stop them??
Next Week: The Steelers travel to Carolina to play the Panthers where both teams have miniscule postseason chances.
Feature Image courtesy baltimoresun.com