Pittsburgh Not Amused After Special Teams Made The Butt Of The Joke

By Matthew Marczi

In a game that saw Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker send a quintuplet of pigskins through the uprights in what was ultimately a two-point loss, the special teams performance of the Pittsburgh Steelers should probably be credited with assists on a pair of those field goals.

First, there was the comical ‘cadence’ issue on the lone field goal attempt by Shaun Suisham right in the middle of the second quarter. The play was so baffling that the official play-by-play lists it as a fake field goal when it clearly was not.

The Canadian kicker began his motions a bit too early, evidently missing the cadence that head coach Mike Tomlin said the team was using in order to combat the crowd noise and slow the rush. When he reached the point where he should be kicking the ball, it wasn’t positioned for him.

Instead of trying to kick it, he aborted, and Mat McBriar flipped him the ball as he was being tackled. Suisham himself was dropped for a loss after retreating 12 yards, which allowed the Ravens to take over near midfield.

After a 26-yard pass interference flag on Ike Taylor, the Ravens eventually converted that faux pas into three points of their own.

About 15 minutes later, after the Steelers finally got onto the scoreboard with an eight-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders, the special teams allowed returner Jacoby Jones to return the ball from the goal line all the way to the Steelers’ 27 after a return of 73 yards before Cortez Allen (and Tomlin?) brought him down.

The Ravens eventually got down to the seven before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Ray Rice sent them back to the 20. Still, it was easy doings for Tucker, who made every kick in the game, and needed every one.

If it wasn’t bad enough that the special teams helped contribute to two field goals for the opposing team in a game in which even one less field goal would have been the difference between a victory and a defeat, the unit also managed to add insult to injury with an embarrassing onside kick attempt.

After Sanders failed to secure a tough pass that went through his hands on the two-point conversion attempt that should have tied the game, the Steelers were left with no choice but to attempt the onside kick.

Of course, the more trickery the better, right? So Suisham first pretended to attack the ball from the right before shifting to the left, only to kick the ball to the right with his left foot.

The only problem is that the ball didn’t come close the even traveling the requisite distance to afford an attempt at a recovery. It was just what was needed to put an exclamation point on the end of what turned out to be a punch line that only Baltimore thought was funny.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • cencalsteeler

    If those were Baltimore’s miscues, we would be laughing, no? The Steelers deserve the embarrassment with the plays mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, it exemplifies the season and the record they have earned.

  • dennisdoubleday

    REALLY low odds that he would be successful kicking the onside with his left foot. Of course, onside kicks are low-success in general, but I have to think success would have been more likely using his normal kicking leg.

    The crowd could have been chanting “Over-thinking” instead of “Over-rated” on that one.

    On the FG, he should have just gone through with the kick. (Of course, I had him in FF this week and that is the first time I have seen negative points next to a kicker’s name!)

    Suisham has been a pretty reliable kicker for us, but holy crap he has picked the worst times to fail, between this and the Oakland game.

  • sean mcmartin

    The Fact sushium is still on the team is beyond reason or logic..
    Tomlin sucks, now the Steelers might lose a draft pick for his supreme idiocy,
    I really hope the Steelers FO makes some changes for the betterment of the team this off-season.

  • Curtis

    You noticed they laughed after the game, they were worried during the end of the game when we came storming back. But for us to play that bad and only get beat by 2 they shouldn’t laugh to much because we own the head to head and I have feeling were going to have the last laugh.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m glad special teams was exposed to a huge audience, so the world could see what we’ve been watching since 1972, aside from a few FEW exceptions. Maybe Tomlin will decide that when HE is our best special-teams player, then its a problem.

  • concretejimmy

    Tomlin is a lowlife. Steelers lost by 2? The Steelers are the Jets of the AFC North.

  • concretejimmy

    How is it the refs never seem to see the Steelers play dirty? Do you mean to tell me the ref doesn’t see Tomlin standing on the field as he runs right by him? Or that he tried to trip him.