Gut Reactions: Steelers Vs Ravens Week 9

7 gut reactions from the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 9 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

– My biggest reaction after watching this game is that the Steelers offense needs to play with the same urgency we saw in the 4th quarter more consistently. I get it, I’m a proponent of staying balanced and Le’Veon Bell is a great running back and needs his touches. But the offensive line struggled to get any push which seems to be a disconcerting trend, and Todd Haley should be able to adjust his game-plan on the fly. 32 rushing yards from Bell is an outright embarrassment. 2.3 yards per carry isn’t going to cut it. The offensive line seems like a shell of the group that was unveiled against the Washington Redskins in Week 1.

– I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than watching your football team of choice beat itself. The Steelers are becoming increasingly good at this with dropped passes, no rushing attack and 13 penalties for 99 yards helped the Ravens take the lead in the AFC North. Right now, it doesn’t matter because despite a very talented roster, the Steelers don’t look like a playoff team.

– The special teams, which has been a relative bright spot throughout the year, was an absolute embarrassment. Punter Jordan Berry, who has been great all year, had his first punt travel for all of 28 yards and had another one blocked. The latter of the two led to a Ravens special teams’ touchdown. Then when the Steelers’ offense finally came to life in the 4th quarter and when it was time to attempt an onside kick, kicker Chris Boswell’s attempt was an absolute embarrassment. It was a bad play-call, bad game management and had bad results.

– The offense’s numbers were humiliating, but sometimes numbers don’t the whole story. With 12:00 minutes left in the game the Steelers offense hadn’t had a drive that lasted more than five plays, FIVE! This massive display of ineptness contained 10 three and out’s, the blocked punt that led to a touchdown and an interception. The Ravens constantly had a short field and were almost as bad offensively, but eventually turned their field position advantage into a Justin Tucker field goal, one more field goal than the Steelers attempted or scored. Oh, and what happened the one time the Steelers managed to pin the Ravens offense inside the 5-yard line? The defense surrendered a 95-yard touchdown pass.

– The Steelers defense did some positive things Sunday. After struggling mightily against the run in their last two games, they held Ravens running back Terrance West to only 21 yards on 15 attempts. The Steelers’ middle linebackers, Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier, led the team with nine tackles a piece and the defense came together to produce nine tackles for a loss and 6 hits on quarterback Joe Flacco. The poor tackling that has been the defensive unit’s calling card throughout the season was a little better but still on display Sunday. A great example of that occurred on Mike Wallace’s 95-yard touchdown reception when safety Mike Mitchell whiffed in his attempt to bring the wide receiver to the turf.

– This was a sloppy AFC North game with a lot of penalties, stout run defenses and minimal offense. It seems like that is the perfect style of game to defeat the 2016 Steelers. While the Ravens played just as sloppily, their calling card isn’t a high-powered offense like that of the Steelers. 10 three and out’s is a horrible offensive showing against any defense, and the Ravens are far from the Steel Curtain. The Steelers need to find an offensive identity quickly if they want to be a playoff team. Luckily they still have five divisional games left to play.

– The difference between Sunday’s winner and loser was the Ravens’ ability to cash in on their “splash plays,” as head coach Mike Tomlin refers to them. The fact that the Steelers allowed “splash plays” in all three phases of the game is perhaps the most alarming part of this loss and is the reason the team left Baltimore with a loss. Neither team looked overly impressive but the Ravens’ offense was able to produce a 95-yard touchdown pass, their defense held the Steelers to 14 points, their defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan had an interception that led to a field goal, and their special team’s unit blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. They were able to convert “splash plays” into points and the Steelers could not. Back to the drawing board.

What’s your gut reaction to Week 9?

About the Author

Patrick Gelesh

Fourth generation Steelers fan, contributing from the Crescent City. Soon to be graduating with a master’s degree in Sports Management with an emphasis in football. My grandfather and mother witnessed the Immaculate Reception, they made sure I was brought up on classic rock and classic Steelers.

  • Ace

    One thing I took from this is we need a more reliable number two receiver. Coates is a roller coaster, Wheaton was a (healthy) scratch, Eli is Eli, no TE weapon, Bell is only good for the 5-8 yd dump-offs he gets, DHB is done. Pretty rough game overall for sure. Wont solve everything but that one stood out to me.

  • Patrick Gelesh

    do you think Green coming back has an effect?

  • COSteel

    Gut reactions – first off, uuugh! Gotta lotta work to do. Definitely in a game like this, have to use the pass to set up the run. It’s amazing that the coaching staff struggles to make adjustments on a regular basis. Unbelievable the games we lose!

  • Ace

    I have mixed feelings on Green. I see the potential, but man has he missed a lot of reps. Has he ever ran a route and caught a pass from Ben? I could see him adding a little juice but that’s all it may be. Cant see him becoming much more than a complementary TE (this year). Maybe a 4 for 40 kind of guy. Hard to say that for a guy who hasn’t played yet, just my opinion. Still gonna root for him to ball out though. Unfortunately, he may be a next year kind of player.

  • Jason Vancil

    Bingo. I have thought the regression/injury marred season Wheaton has had + Heaths retirement has caused Ben to lock on AB too much. Green needs to play and become a consistent option for this Offense.

  • Ace

    Adjustments, no kidding. Run wasn’t working and yet PS run, run, (up the gut no less) incomplete, punt. Frustrating to watch.

  • Paddy

    You know it’s impossible to evaluate this team because they have too many problems. It isn’t just one or two things. The line can’t seem to run block, DeCastro has been awful and #78 is not a NFL L.T. The secondary can’t tackle and the OLB’s can’t seem to get home. Now the special teams are making mistakes. lastly the injuries have been difficult to overcome. Halfway through the season and this team is a wreck.

    Tomlin looks clueless with the same old cliches after the game. I’m not sure why sportswriters go to his press conferences other than the free food

  • steelburg

    I know he is coming off a injury but Big Ben and Eli Manning are the 2 most inconsistent 2 time super bowl winning QB’S I have ever seen. And can we be done with the Jarvis Jones experiment now? James Harrison is still the best OLB on this team JJ has had 8 weeks and he is a back up OLB we need to proceed for the remainder of the season with that in mind.

  • Thomas

    We need to fire Haley, Lake, and Butler. Haley has been predictable, and our high powered offense hasn’t done anything on the road three times in a row. We almost got shut out. On defense we play prevent defense all game, and our DBs still can’t tackle. Nothing will change until these guys are gone.

  • COSteel

    Agreed – however, I think we’d all agree when this team brings their true game they can hang with anyone and are hard to beat. That is what is frustrating- they are so inconsistent. And when will the coaches be held accountable?

  • BDCBDC7

    Really looked like we had back to back bye weeks, slept walked through this one.

  • steelburg

    See the problem is you can hide 78 like they did last year when the other 4 guys are playing well. This year you can’t point to any of our linemen and say they are playing well enough to hide a guy like AV.

  • Patrick Gelesh

    It’s been an ugly few weeks, it’s too easy to be negative… lets change the tone… solutions: Should we copy the raiders and use a 6th lineman as a tight end to fix these blocking issues? Green and rogers will hopefully evolve into their own version of edelman and gronk (thats the idea at least)… our run defense was solid… Most importantly someone needs to call a players only meeting and fix the locker room, everyone’s indifferent and sleep walking, they need to have urgency on every play, let coates run that slant like wallace, did u see the cushion he’s getting? And lets all laugh at how ridiculous that onside kick was…

  • steelmann58

    Totally frustrated by Haley inability to make adjustments like changing from a running game to a quick pass game

  • Patrick Gelesh

    I have to believe ben has the ability to audible out of some of those runs…. the ineffectiveness is VERY frustrating!

  • Jeremy McClurg

    Unless they tore something, there should be no reason Wheaton, Green have been out this long. Seriously. At the beginning of the season, Green was benched because of headaches, not his ankle. So obviously he just doesn’t want to play, cause if it’s not bad enough to take him out of a preseason game, it’s not enough to take him out for 4 MONTHS! Wheaton was hurt, played like crap for the entire game he returned, and then now he’s gonna be out another month. How do you come back from an injury, play an entire game, and then be out for another month with the same injury.

  • Ace

    I must say thank you to the Bozz for at least giving me a laugh at the end of the game. Summed up the day for sure. Run D was good, Shazier looks healthy at least for now, Burns had his first pick, finally a couple sacks from a linebacker, maybe this was Ben just shaking off the rust. (having trouble finding any more positives…)

  • Bill

    How do all you “experts” who comment, know Haley didn’t make any adjustments? And here’s a little tidbit for you: the Ravens have a pretty good defense. Steelers’ offense does not have the tremendous talent everybody seems to think they have. They have one outstanding receiver and at present the rest are mediocre.. Except for the Wallace thing, defense played reasonably well considering the lack of any help from the offense. This team is not a championship caliber team; maybe next year

  • Shane Mitchell

    What is clear is Bells patient wait for blocks to develop while hesitating behind the line style of running is not as effective against teams running defenses that allow a lot of players to run to the ball in their defensive assignments. By the time a block develops, 9 players are in the box. Against those defenses he has to hit the hole or make one, those negative runs are tough to overcome.

  • PA2AK_

    Aside from Mitchell getting stiff armed twice…this isn’t the week to rag on the defensive coaching

  • Steeler-Drew

    They said Green had a setback to the ankle later in the week in practice on the TV postgame show. It was the first I heard of it. This site reported there was still some things he couldn’t do which is not unexpected since he missed all of training camp. I hope it was misinformation.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    My gut reaction?

    Disgust. And frustration.

  • Don2727

    Three ugly losses in a row and a good Cowboys team coming up. Starting to really wonder if they can turn things around, or maybe what we have seen is the best they have. How do you come off a bye week with that much time to prepare and look like that if you really are a good team?

  • Don2727

    Good call on the slant. I was yelling that all game..ha,ha. The one time they did was to Rogers for a nice gain.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If we do not get reliable production from a #2 WR this will be a tough year offensively. The road map is out on how to stop the Steelers offense so now it is time for someone not named Bell or Brown to make consistant big plays.

  • k33ger

    Fire tomlin.

    this is the 3rd road game where the team did not show up and play with any consistency. There is a clear pattern this season. The team needs a shakeup.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Well during the game one of the analysts actually said and I am not joking Tomlin told him our problems on third downs are a result of having too much offensive talent, not enough footballs to go around and too many choices of where to go with the ball on third downs. Probably why we like to throw deep to Coates on third down so much with his broken hand, if his hand wasnt broke he would be too talented to throw to, so it is an easy decision right now.

    We are just too damn talented thats the problem.

  • Steeler-Drew

    My gut reaction is your first gut reaction is spot on. This game started to have the feel over being over before it got started with the game plan going in. The 3rd and 10 draw got my attention. The 3rd and 4 run while having some field position was like putting the nail in the coffin way to early in the game. You knew at that point they were going to play not to lose football.

    From there Haley just doesn’t know how to adjust on the fly. The first and second down runs up the gut should have been abandoned quickly once you could clearly see the line was getting no push. Our offense played into their strength instead attacking the weaker part of their defense. But apparently that was the game plan going in thinking they could still run the ball well enough to set up the pass. The disgusting part is having two weeks and still coming up with a horrible game plan. In one of the articles before the game it suggested the Steelers may be more successful running left. Apparently Haley didn’t get the memo on that one. Its hard enough to win straight up with some self inflicted wounds. It becomes harder to win when a coach can’t get the most out of his players and doesn’t put them in the best possible position to be successful. Clearly this loss is more about just Haley but my first gut reaction is this team is not good enough to overcome poor coaching.

  • Shane Mitchell

    No the olineman as a TE doesnt fix the blocking problem because the SS who reads that TE at the snap to see if he has to cover him or play the run, now doesnt have to worry about it, he is playing run for sure with no read necessary, basically it turns a normal SS into Troy Polamalu, thats why it is seldom a cure for poor blocking TEs, it has to be a player that is a threat to at least run a pass route.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Coates speed doesnt seem as sudden as Wallace or Martavis Bryant, he is a long speed guy, one of those track guys that doesnt get off the blocks quick but pulls ahead the last 10 yards of the sprint.

  • Rusted Out

    A clear pattern this season? Try the last 5 years.

  • timpprof

    The problem with the Steelers is the chronic lack of leadership exhibited by Tomlin, Roethlisberger and Brown, the primary principles of this team. Due to the lack of discipline practiced by the coach (in terms of penalties, game day attitude, off the field behavior (why is blount an angel in massachusetts, but a rabid smoker in pennsylvania?), and the poor example of professionalism by the two players (one shows up when he wants, the other is more concerned about the color of his cleats), the temperament of the team is uneven, leaving them incapable of playing consistently good football from game to game.The steelers are big on talent, extremely low on character. It is why they lose games they are not supposed to, and make mistakes that leave mouths agog (onsides kick).

  • Joecool328

    I hate the lack of urgency, the farting around and the constant poor play calling. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the run wasn’t working . . . so operate out the shot gun and give Ben a chance to get into rhythm . . . dump off some passes to Bell in the flat in order to get him the ball.
    Gut reaction . . . total disgust.

    Only teams lacking discipline commit fouls at this type of frequency.

  • Matt Manzo

    My gut reaction!
    DT and Safety are right up there with OLB for top draft picks!
    And I’m hoping for a new OC next year!

  • melblount

    Well said, and I thought it, too. I also thought how Big Ben and other top QBs can routinely raise receivers’ levels of play and make them what we/they are missing. This is a BIG void though, with Heath retired, Bryant out, and the issues you noted with Coates and Wheaton.

    So while I agree, I also wonder why Ben has had his loser’s (especially facial) look so often this season. Yeah, some drops, but his many off target throws are both baffling and sickening to watch. Top it all off with seriously flawed game planning/adjustments (again) and Ben’s smiley-faced post game interview, it’s hard for even diehards to see any real hope this season, aside from the fact the division stinks and somebody gets a ticket to the show.

  • Patrick Gelesh

    I was pointing to the fact that 10 three and outs is unacceptable by an offense…. maybe Haley made corrections but his play calling felt predictable…. they do have a good defense, which is even more upsetting because the Steelers and Ravens underwent very similar defensive changes over the course of the last few years….

  • Patrick Gelesh

    don’t forget to follow me on twitter @geleshpatrick or Facebook…. your support helps!

  • Iulo

    my reactions? I have many… here one of them:
    while our beloved probowl center got one finger hurt and couldn’t play anymore, on the other side of the line of scrimmage a guy called Suggs destroyed the offensive line with only one arm….

  • jsteeler

    Ben ain’t Sh&% on the road. Hell. He’s not all that good at home either. The Defense played good all friggin day in M&T. Any score in the 1,2 or 3rd Qtr. could have been momentum. but No, Ben and his taking 25 sec to complete a pass. Cant throw a quick slant or bubble screen.Over throwing Receivers wide open, 120 million dollar QB His old ass is done. Tank this year and get Deshaun Watson from Clemson. Oh, The Browns will draft him 1st. Steeler are screwed.

  • CP72

    Here is what I don’t get. The Ravens are a stout run defense. They were also down DB and playing a rookie. Haley starts the game off with all this heavy package 2 te stuff…? That’s mind boggling.

    The Patriots attack what your are bad at stopping. They don’t try to challenge what your good at.

  • Nolrog

    Certainly would help if Limas Coates could catch the damn ball.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I think that everyone is over-thinking this. We just sucked out there. We are not nearly as good as the hype playing out inside the heads of some of these players and the early pundits. Aside from Munchak, I’m not sure that any of these coaches are putting in even 20 hours a week. I know that the O line struggled on run downs but the Ratbirds have a solid front and were obviously aware of what plays were coming. The pass protection was more than adequate for even a novice QB. I shutter at the thought of what a coach and staff like the Patriots could do with this team. I think it would scream dynasty. BTW – dump that hotheaded turd for brains Mitchell and his tough guy persona. What a joke.

  • David Paul

    Yep. Sickening “game plan”. I’m now convinced they develop a plan of what they want to do, regardless of opponent. Don’t know if that is arrogance or stupidity.

  • David Paul

    Are you sure? I know he has 2-3 plays in no-huddle, but when they’re not running it how much authority does he have to check out?

    If he has full authority and isn’t exercising it, can’t a coach just say “Hey, you can check out of plays that don’t look good, you know”.

  • David Paul

    Yep, bench Ben. It’s unacceptable that he committed 13 penalties, roughed the kicker, had a punt blocked for a TD, allowed a 95-yard TD pass, and rushed for only 32 yards.

  • Kevin artis

    The offensive line is soft. They have no attitude and always get pushed around like a bunch of girls.
    We need “willie colon”, Richie igcocnito, Cody Wallace” type attitude on our offensive line.

  • MC

    Hey RustedOut, i know we were both expecting exactly this type of game but did you expect it to be this bad?

    Are there anyone still defending Tomlin? i hate harbaugh to death but he is a better coach and you can tell his personal hatred for the steelers makes him get his team up for these games, can’t say the same for Tomlin.

    Once again I saw a team with more talent than the one across from them and they were simply out coached, lacked discipline and were unprepared for a rival divisional game with two weeks to gameplan.

  • Alan Tman

    He shouldn’t be benched, but you must admit that he played horribly. If he plays the first three quarters like he played the last we win by 20.

  • Alan Tman

    This O-line is soft and can’t compete with physical front sevens. Bell’s ability and passing 65% of the time has taken it’s toll. They have lost the ability to knock people off the ball.

  • AndyR34

    Yes it is…both

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    My guts are all over the floor – that’s my reaction.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    melblount – Have seen that look on Ben before; that deer in the headlights look. Everytime I see; he is playing horribly and they lose.
    Maybe they should do a facial scan just prior to each game – if he has that wide-eyed doe look, pull him in favor of Landry or Berger II.

  • afrazier9

    I must say i know Ben might have missed people, but the play calling was so predictable. The rap around draw should be taken behind the barn, and the 3rd in 4 running play was almost like they quit and laid down. I just see the offense is always ill prepared for what opposing teams are good at like running in to 8 and 9 man fronts is insane. Doesn’t Ben have the option to change the play i mean its like we switched play call sheets with the Landry Jones offensive play sheet. The dam special teams SMH you have to make a change the only bright spot has been Barry and the bad MOJO has even trickled down to him. I have to say this off season because i know the steelers don’t change in the middle of the season but offense and special teams coaching has to have a change. Butler needs to play with this same style of defense every week , and Tomlin his game and clock management needs to be taken from his hand and add an extra dude to just do that OH wait that is his only job SMH. OH and even better this is what we have been doing for the last two weeks really.

  • Brian Miller

    Good call cp!!

  • Brian Miller

    See, I have heard that a lot, and I on believe it anymore. He has looked horrible against Miami, the Ratbirds, Cincy, etc. He has only looked decent at home against Washington. At some pointment we have to look at the facts that maybe Big Ben is just not as good as we thought.

  • Pack

    I was very excited from what I saw our defense looked different it didn’t look so passive it looked like it was attacking instead of reacting which caused our first db interception. In general I was very happy with the defensive play other then mike Mitchell whiffing on that tackle the Ravens would have only had 180ish yards if I remember correctly total minus that 95 yard catch and run. Harrison always shows out against the Ravens is as expecting this play from him Burns looked like he carried himself with swag which is very important in that position i.e. Look at Cortez Allen. Anyways the offense looked good when Ben was warmed up he really must have been hurt for it to affect his play that bad. Or I suppose could have just been the game plan that was slowing him down with all the stubborn runs up the nose of the strength of the Ravens Defense.