Steelers’ playoff chances dwindle after 20-17 loss to Ravens


The Steelers now find themselves on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture after Sunday’s loss at Baltimore.

Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was a stinger to fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers had the opportunity to further solidify a playoff position with a victory over the bottom-feeding Ravens. Pittsburgh also had the opportunity to avenge a week four loss in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not play. Neither of those goals were achieved and the Steelers likely turned in their worst performance of the season. Head coach Mike Tomlin was clearly irate at Sunday’s post-game press conference.

“We didn’t get it done in the stadium today so we’re left to look around at other stadiums,” Tomlin said in Sunday’s press conference.”Such is life this time of year when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, and we didn’t today.”

Time and time again, the Steelers failed to do exactly what Tomlin said. This trend began on the very first drive of the game, one in which the offense was stalled on the Baltimore 30-yard line after a turnover on downs. Pittsburgh failed to score early after a stellar start from running back DeAngelo Williams.

Pittsburgh’s defense got off to another slow start this week, allowing 13 points to the Ryan Mallett-lead Ravens offense in the first half. Mallett finished the game by completing 28 of 41 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens also racked up 121 yards on the ground between Terrance West and Javorius Allen.

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Ben Roethlisberger has been the saving grace for Pittsburgh this season, but he certainly had his worst performance of the season. The two-time champion threw two interceptions, both on errant throws.

There is not much to break down today, other than the fact that the Steelers did not show up on either side of the ball.

The fifth-ranked Steelers rushing defense gave up 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown had just seven catches for 61 yards. Receiver Martavis Bryant dropped two passes including a deep third down pass on Pittsburgh’s final drive. Linebacker Ryan Shazier blew a coverage which effectively gave up a touchdown on a later play.

It’s hard to make a positive argument for this Steeler performance outside of Williams. The former Panther had 100 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Steelers fans can call for Tomlin’s head, chase Todd Haley out of Pittsburgh with torches and pitchforks and demand Roethlisberger’s retirement all they want.

However, fans do need to understand that this is a typical case of a team overlooking a divisional opponent who wants nothing more than to ruin your playoff chances. Fans immediately look to play the blame game, but in these divisional games, sometimes it comes down to desire. It is hard for a head coach to create desire in a player without an inherent desire in the player himself.

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Just as Tomlin exclaimed, such is life for the Steelers when you do not do what you are supposed to do. Sadly, that equates to the Steelers likely missing the playoffs. While Tomlin may not have prepared the team to play as well as he could have, today comes down to a group of players who overlooked a divisional rival.