As I do every week, here are more of my observations from the Steelers loss to the Baltimore Ravens last night after going back through the game now. I will have much, more content from this game later on today.
I mentioned it before and certainly understand the reasoning why Mike Tomlin defers when he wins the toss, but I still do not like it. It is not like the defense needs a boost of confidence. I would rather see the offense get lathered up first to start the game.
The game looked like it was going to get off to a similar start as week 1, only worse, as Ray Rice went 76 yards for a touchdown. Thankfully Torrey Smith was flagged for holding William Gay on the play. The Ravens still converted 3 third downs on the opening drive, two of which were 6 yards or more.
The night got off to a rough start for Gay on the pass interference on Smith. Had Gay turned to find the ball, he might not have been called.
Steve McLendon had a few good penetrations during the goal-line stand and it was big to hold them to 3 points.
Ben Roethlisberger is lucky Bernard Pollard did not pick off his first pass. If Mike Wallace has any type of block on the first 3rd down, Rashard Mendenhall converts.
Gay almost was victimized deep by Smith on the Ravens second possession.
Nice hit by Bryant McFadden on the return following the Steelers first field goal, but the Steelers failed to recover it.
James Harrison made his presence known early against the run as he blew past Jah Reid.
The Steelers countered all the cut blocking this time around by shifting Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood more in the B-gaps.
As the game wore on, Jason Worilds was only used as a pass rusher on passing downs as Lawrence Timmons played left outside linebacker in base. Worilds had a good start to the game, but got quieter as the game went on.
Roethlisberger put too much air under an early deep ball to Wallace, but Wallace should have made the catch just the same.
Ramon Foster had a crushing trap block pulling left late in the first half. Foster and Marcus Gilbert did however allow a sack at the end of the drive.
It is a shame that Ryan Clark was flagged for that hit on Ed Dickson. A few years ago that was deemed an excellent football hit. On the flip-side it was hard to believe Ray Lewis was not flagged for the hit on Hines Ward.
Mendenhall was really slamming it up in the hole much quicker this week. It is obvious he was coached up on this.
Terrell Suggs easily read Roethlisberger on the interception as Ben stared the direction the whole play and Suggs jumped back right in the lane. That was a big play in the game as the Steelers would have easily had at least a field goal.
On the Rice touchdown run, Timmons shot the gap just to get blown up by Vonta Leach and Harrison ran past the back side contain thinking it was pass.
Great blocks by Weslye Saunders and David Johnson on the Mendenhall touchdown run.
Thought Larry Foote played well tonight against the run. Read & reacted well.
Jerricho Cotchery made a couple of nice grabs of tipped balls. Speaking of which, that is the most tipped balls against Roethlisberger I have seen in a game I think.
Chris Kemoeatu destroyed Brendon Ayanbadejo on a counter play later in the game. Many thought Ayanbadejo might have faked to stop the clock, but he was really hurt.
The Roethlisberger to Wallace touchdown was classic Ben. If Wallace does not get to the ball it still is a touchdown to Antonio Brown. Brown really had a nice game.
Gay really struggled with Anquan Boldin on the final drive and Taylor was beat by Smith right before Smith ultimately beat Gay. Boldin did a great job getting separation from Taylor throughout the game as well. Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen gave up a few receptions as well.
Some final thoughts now to close with.
The offensive line played very well for the most part as did the defensive line. Max Starks kept Suggs fairly well in check.
The Steelers kick-off coverage did not play well as they allowed a 32.3 average on 4 returns.
Not a good first game back for Jeremy Kapinos.
Harrison looked stronger than ever and LaMarr Woodley was sorely missed.
Joe Flacco completed 8 3rd downs of 6 or more yards by my count after struggling all season with that distance. The defense had problems getting off the field most of the night.
Can\’t wait to see the all-22 view of the final touchdown to see just how far out of place Ryan Clark was.