The Pittsburgh Steelers playoff hopes are back on life support with a 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving Night.
Here are some key takeaway’s from the loss:
When you start 0-4 and then lose on the road to a bad Raiders team, you leave yourself no room for error. However, the bottom line last night is that the Ravens were the deserving team to win. The Steelers were plagued by mistakes in all three phases:
— Offensively the Steelers had a nice rally in the second half to come within a two-point conversion of sending the game to overtime but again the team was plagued by a slow start and that can’t be overlooked when evaluating this offense at seasons end. In 10 of 12 games this year, the Steelers have scored 10 or fewer points in the first half. The Steelers were shutout in the first half and plagued by a passive game plan early on, which you can argue has led to constant slow starts with this team. Nonetheless, the slow start from the Steelers put them behind the 8-ball and it didn’t help that Ben Roethlisberger was very inaccurate in the first half.
— Defensively, the Steelers gave up just one touchdown but the Ravens were able to move the ball at will and Baltimore punted just one time. The Ravens went 10 for 17 on third down and exploited the Steelers for big plays as a Torrey Smith 54 yard reception was the Steelers 10th play this year they have given up of 50+ yards. The Steelers remain very susceptable to the deep pass and that’s not real surprising as the safeties are liabilities in coverage and Ike Taylor is on the down side of his career. The defense didn’t get enough stops.
— Special Teams was a disaster for the Steelers. Shaun Suisham moved early on a missed field attempt that loomed large at the end of the day and after cutting the Ravens lead to 13-7 in the third quarter, Jacoby Jones takes a kickoff return 73 yards and if it wasn’t for Mike Tomlin’s antics of knowingly or not knowingly of standing on the field, the game is over there as Jones would have scored and put the Ravens up 20-7.
— The Steelers playoff hopes are not over but another conference loss will pretty much end their hopes.
— Emmanuel Sanders is taking a ton of heat and deservedly so for his drop on the two point conversion. The biggest frustration for Sanders are those type of drops in big situations and Ben should never count on him to make a tough catch in a big situation. Sanders agent sought an Antonio Brown type deal this past summer from the Steelers. Good luck with that.
— Le’Veon Bell took a vicious helmet to helmet hit but he earned a lot of stripes from his teammates and made some doubters like me a believer in his ability.
— Jason Worilds continues to be a beast on the left side. 10 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 tackle for loss vs the Ravens. Some team is going to throw big money at him and it won’t be the Steelers.
— Is Ike Taylor finished? A critical next four games for him regarding his Steelers future. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor is on pace to give up the most yardage of any CB since the site started tracking yardage given up by cornerbacks in 2004. With a $10.4 million cap hit in 2014, this could be the end for Taylor.