I just want to make a couple of quick points before I get in to this week’s Tomlin presser, because I don’t think I can wait until Friday to talk about what went wrong on Sunday. The whole game was a mess, and the fact that we didn’t have a game plan that could move the ball coming right out of the gate meant that our coaches were unprepared for this game. Granted, it is the Ravens and they have a really great defense. I said in my Friday article last week that we knew we’d see a better Raves team because they always get up to play the Steelers. Some have said this was the Ravens’ super bowl, and I supposed based on the celebration after the game (can’t remember the last time a cooler was dumped on a coach for a regular season win), you can make that argument. All I want to say is this:
It looked to me like the Ravens were pretty comfortable the whole game. It didn’t look like they were scared at any point,even when they got behind, and they didn’t panic. Frankly, they were more prepared for us, and more intense, coming out of the gate than we were for them. For the second time this season. It’s just unacceptable. The fact that we were able to get the lead back near the end of the game and had the ball with the lead and 230 left just makes this whole thing even worse.
I HATE it when the Steelers play to not lose instead of playing to win. When you have the ball with a 4 point lead and 230 left on the clock, you have to attack. There were too many time outs (one for the Ravens and the 2 minute warning) left on the board to just run a couple of plays and kick it away. Tomlin trusts the defense, I get it, and I suppose a 92 yard drive isn’t really probable, but do we really believe our secondary is as good as their numbers right now? Flacco chewed us up and spit us out on that drive, and made us look like the secondary I thought we were to start the season.
What pisses me off the most is that we weren’t aggressive. Great teams go for the jugular. Great teams don’t tip toe around hoping that M. Moore can get us 2 yards closer to kicking a sure to be missed 47 yard Suisham field goal. GO FOR THE KILL! They should have been aggressive and pounded the ball with Mendy, who had a great game, and then gone for the first down. What happens if Ed Reed picks off Ben, you ask? What happens if Ray Lewis gets to Big Ben? Well, the same thing that happened anyway. At least if you’re aggressive and you attack the end zone, you have a chance to ice the game. A missed field goal at the 35 is better than nothing, in my opinion. I hate that crap and I’ve seen the Steelers (Bruce Arians) do it way too many times.
OK. Now that I’ve got that off my chest…
Sanders had his knee scoped and will be out a couple of weeks. Cotchery, who had a big game last week filling in for Sanders/Hines, has swelling in his knee, he’ll be limited this week. Of course, Sepulveda is on IR, again, and is out for the season. As you saw last week, Kapinos is back to kick for the Steelers. Sylvester will be limited as well for some swelling in his knee. Woodley’s availability will be determined by his participation this week, as will Farrior’s (Calf). Hines Ward seems to be doing well with his concussion-like syptoms, they’ll monitor that this week. James Harrison came in and played great this week, and doesn’t seem to be showing any kind of wear from his injury that kept him out for weeks.
The Bengals are as hot as anyone right now having won 5 games in a row, per Tomlin. Dalton is playing great having AJ Green as his number one target coming in early in the draft this year. Cedric Benson had been consistent and the Bengals defense is #2 against stopping the run. The Bengals haven’t really played anyone worth talking about yet (my words), but hey, neither have we and last week we were all pretty high on the Steelers.
Adam Jones and Brandon Tate were big acquisitions this year for the Bengals. They’re both fast and can bring a big spark at any moment. Tomlin says the Bengals game is important, a division rival on the road who is 6-2, and that they are excited to go in there and try and get a win.
On the final Ravens drive, Tomlin says they missed stopping the Ravens “by a hair” on numerous occasions. They made the plays they had to make to win, and the Steelers didn’t. It’s the nature of the game they play and the Steelers generally played “below the line” the whole game. Tomlin says he likes his chances when he’s got a 4 point lead and the defense has the Ravens back up 92 yards. He says he felt totally comfortable with that situation and would do it again. He also said the plan on the final drive was to try and get a free first down with one of those snap count thingys they keep doing on 4th down. I have to say, eventually they have to go for it on fourth down in order for that trick to work. If the other teams know that we’re going to fake a play on every 4th and one, we’ll just be like the kid who cried wolf. They need to go for it one of these times.
Tomlin says Dalton of the Bengals is not a typical rookie, as he’s been the guy for the whole season and that hasn’t ever been in question. He’s been playing better than most rookies play, and now has won 5 games straight for the Bengals. This is another must win week for the Steelers if they want to have a chance to beat one of either the Bengals or the Ravens to the playoffs. Have to start winning division games and with the Bengals and Browns making 4 of our last 6 games, it’s important that we get on a hot streak soon.