Cam Heyward Says Defense Must Stop ‘Absurd’ Mistakes

Absurd is an apt way to describe most of what happened Sunday night at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers went up 14-0, the Baltimore Ravens responded with a 31-6 run, and the Steelers finished things by outscoring them 19-7 in a 39-38 win.

Got all that?

Productive as the offense was, the Steelers’ defense equally struggled. The 38 points Baltimore scored is the most in the Steelers/Ravens rivalry. It was the first time in franchise history they allowed that many points and won. Quickly reflecting after the game, Cam Heyward called most of the issues “absurd.”

“A lot of it is just self-inflicted,” Heyward told reporters. “Whether it’s penalties, missed tackles, absurd things that we’re doing.”

Sunday night had plenty of that. Four defensive penalties and they were both costly. Two late hits on Sean Davis. Two pass interference on Artie Burns. At least 20 missed tackles. The worst rendition of “12 Days Of Christmas” I’ve ever heard.

But through it all, the Steelers – as has become commonplace – found a way to win. And the defense provided the crucial plays of the game, forcing a three-and-out to give the offense the ball back, who marched downfield for Chris Boswell’s go-ahead boot.

“When we finally settled down, we got off the field, got the ball back to our offense, you saw what happened,” Heyward said.

After Le’Veon Bell found the end zone with 3:25 to go, and the Steelers down 38-36, the defense made a play. Three of them. Joe Flacco threw incomplete deep over the middle on first down, Alex Collins gained seven on second, and Stephon Tuitt batted down Flacco’s pass on 3rd and 3. Pittsburgh got the ball back at their 17 with 2:25 remaining, all the time in the world for Ben Roethlisberger and company.

Clearly, the Steelers felt the effects of the injuries they’ve suffered. No Ryan Shazier, no Joe Haden, and the team mixing and matching at both spots in an attempt to compensate. There’s a lot to work on. Starting with the fundamentals, still crucially off the mark so late into the year.

But through it all, the Steelers still found a way to win.

That’s just absurd.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • DirtDawg1964

    Even more absurd was the Ravens putting the ball in Joe’s hands after they’d been gashing the Steelers on the ground all night long.

    But so be it!

  • Had the Ravens just simply ran the ball instead of having 2 incompletions, they likely win the game.

  • Sonny Saks

    Is Haden a definite out Sunday?

  • Alex Kozora

    No. Tomlin will update tomorrow.

  • Sam Clonch

    Anyone notice that Burfict, Kirpatrick and Mixon were all out with injuries this weekend? Steelers laid the HAMMER on the Bungles! Also funny (to me) that the Chicago Bears are 3-0 against the AFCN so far. If they can top the Browns in a few weeks, they sweep the division! What a weird year, lol.

  • Grant Humphrey

    Would hope not. We need him back there.

  • ThePointe

    The internet may break as all of Steelers Nation will be streaming that press conference!

  • Steel City Slim

    The pass interference called on Artie Burns was ridiculous. It was more offensive pass interference than defensive.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I kinda hope that he is. I want him 100% for the playoffs.

  • Rob S.

    Because they would have gotten the 1st down?

    If you mean because of time, the Steelers only used 1 timeout, and not because they had to. They used it after the long pass so they could take their time. And they still left 42 seconds.

  • rystorm06

    Yup the Bengals aren’t tough enough to hang with the Steelers, thats why they have to resort to dirty tactics

  • We couldn’t stop the run, on second and 10 Collins ran for 7, it is a high probability they would have converted for 1st downs had they chose to run instead of pass.

  • ThePointe

    The second one I absolutely agree. The Ravens receiver got away with holding on to Artie as he was in better position.

  • Sam Clonch

    Think he means the series the Ravens had prior to the Steelers FG drive. Was under 4 minutes left, and the Ravens threw it 2 out of 3 downs, both incompletions that stopped the clock, using very little time and not making the Steelers burn any of their TOs to get the ball back. No reason to think that if they had run it, they couldn’t have picked up a 1st down or to, or at least made Pitt use their TOs.

  • colingrant

    Sometimes teams lose simply because the opposing team blocked better and tackled better, plain and simple. Sometimes all of this football mumbo jumbo “technical reasoning” football talk is just an inability to accept some realities. This isn’t Chess.

  • Mark Stouffer

    Both PIs on Burns were ridiculous. First one was offensive PI on Wallace, and second one was uncatchable.
    Davis, on the other hand, deserved both his penalties. The WWE style takedown on an incomplete checkdown was incredibly dumb

  • colingrant

    I think we payed a price also but it was an emotional expenditure. It’s harder to see it though because we played the Ravens and not the Browns, so the thinking is there no way we weren’t ready. I don’t think we were, but do think we will be this week. I’m very concerned about Houston though after passing through the gauntlet of 3 consecutive high stakes games. Should we beat the pats, we’ll be playing the Texans at 75% efficiency.

  • Renohightower

    Artie is so disappointing its ridiculous

  • PapaJuju

    Completely disagree with you. He played good coverage last night. His tackling and run defense leaves much to be desired, But I think he is going to be the best CB the Steelers have had in a long time.

  • Chris92021

    The Bengals went into “F it” mode after Boswell’s game winner last Monday. Lewis knows he is not going to get a new contract and the players have mentally checked out. Trubisky looked like a NFL QB for once. And the Browns will beat the Bears for their lone victory of the season.

  • Conserv_58

    Cam is right, but what is bothersome to me is when he said, “When we finally settled down, we got off the field, got the ball back to our offense, you saw what happened.”

    IMO, it’s taking them too long to finally settle down. They’re constantly shooting themselves in the feet with a myriad of dumb penalties, bad tackling, poor communication, poor execution and not being where they should be. More often than not when defenses make that many errors in a game they lose. Apparently, Mr. Rooney is on excellent terms with the all mighty because it’s remarkable to see how many times this season they pulled out a win from the jaws of defeat.

  • Sam Clonch

    I thought at least one of those PI calls was complete BS.

  • Conserv_58

    The Steelers also lost Ryan Shazier in that game too. It’s uncanny to see how Le’Veon had two season ending knee injuries while playing the bengals and now Ryan is out for the foreseeable future.

    As for the bears beating three AFNC teams so far the same can be said of the Jaguars.

  • Sam Clonch

    Think 75% would be plenty for the Texans. They just lost (another) QB. Then we take an extended bye starting week 17. Be ready to go for the Divisional round.

  • Conserv_58

    Really? I thought he had a decent game with the exception of a couple of penalties, one being complete BS.

  • Sam Clonch

    Ryan was hurt? Huh, I hadn’t heard…

  • Rob S.

    Can’t argue with that

  • Conserv_58

    The point being the Steelers didn’t escape unscathed either, despite laying the hammer down on the Bengals’ three players. There is also the Pac Man groin injury to take into consideration.

  • Conserv_58

    I don’t think it hasn’t anything to do with toughness. It has everything to do with the bengals having a collective inferiority complex when it comes to the Steelers. They lose because their envy, jealousy, lack of class, dignity and immaturity get in their way.

  • nd fan

    Besides 97 the d line has been pretty invisible the past couple weeks, especially hargrave. They need to get off there blocks and stop that between tackles running. And Watt and Dupree need to set the edge and not get 5 yards up field every play they’re running behind them.

  • NCSteel

    I saw him, pacing the sidelines, looking none to pleased late in the game.
    Thats what is needed and what needs to be said.
    Thats what a leader does.

  • Sam Clonch

    aka: lack of mental toughness

  • Sam Clonch

    Oh man, the first Ravens series of the game, they dropped Javon into COVERAGE, which promptly resulted in Woodhead getting the first 1st down of the night. I was rolling seeing him dropping. What a hilarious idea, lol

  • Doogie

    Discipline, they have none. Lose games do to stupid penalties, cheap shots.. They tend to “Bungle” everything.

  • Doogie

    Hey cant talk about groins without me thinking of Dave B, He’s not a doctor, just plays one on twitter and specializes in Groins.

  • Ray Istenes

    Sure Shazier and Haden are both big losses.

    However, missed tackles should not be the issue it is. If they cut the missed tackles in half the game may not be close. Also, neither was easy but Mitchell and Burns need to hold onto those INT’s.

  • Ray Istenes

    there were questionable calls both ways.

    Poor officiating crew.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    We had the Jags iuntil all the turnovers in the end. Most of it was bad play calling up until the turnovers. If we see them again we’ll definitely beat them.

  • Dave McMillan

    What does it take to wrap up on a good tackle these days? These diving, lead with your shoulder “tackles” are ridiculous.

  • Dave McMillan

    If the defense plays like it did last night next week; TB12 will carve ’em up good.

  • Sam Clonch

    I’m on that train with ya, buddy!!!

  • Jon Crissinger

    Ball was about 15 yards past Wallace. Wasn’t even catchable. And if they wanted to flag it (shouldn’t have been any flag) it should have been holding at most. The other PI, they were both fighting it out. Wallace probably was doing more than Burns for interference on that one, but at least it was understandable.

  • Mark

    I understand what Cam is saying, however, him, Tuitt, and Hargrave were no shows against a very average offensive line. Along with a no show from the LBs until the last play by Tuitt (batting a pass down) and TJ’s sack. The front 7 was totally invisible.

    It wasn’t mistakes, it was getting manhandled by Raven’s O line

  • Mark

    Just like Jacksonville swept the AFCN. We are maddening division.

  • Sam Clonch

    Yeah, but Jacksonville is probably going to be a division winner, and #3 seed. Chicago is going to win maybe 5 games, with 4 against the AFCN!

  • popsiclesticks

    Every year, the Bengals could be 10-0 and I don’t fear them, and the Ravens could be 0-10 and I’m thinking “damn it, Ravens week, just win by 1”.

  • popsiclesticks

    Yet every game people want to talk about out-coached and play-calling this and fire this guy and fire that guy. The other team is trying, too.

  • popsiclesticks

    He didn’t blow any coverages, either. Flat out he’s far and away the best pure cover guy on this roster IMO (even with Haden) and I’m not gonna lead a charge against Artie over some bad penalty calls.

  • popsiclesticks

    I don’t think they did settle down. Davis was playing right up to the line between a flag and a no call, down the the last stop they made.

  • popsiclesticks

    Players have to be benched early on in their youth careers to learn, IMO. But so many of these guys are probably running around high school games destroying lesser athletes that it’s not gonna happen.

  • Stairway7

    Bud was a no show. Maybe he needs to be inactive for a game or two. Let Chick and Debo take his snaps. He’s regressing at the speed of sound.

  • Steel City Slim

    Yes there were bad calls both ways. I’m just pointing out the one on Burns specifically.

  • Biggie

    The D has taken major steps backward. Run defense is as bad as pass defense is at this point. Dumb penalties, missed tackles and being out of position are main culprits. They better figure this out in next 3 weeks or it’ll be a short playoff for us.

  • Russell Stauver

    I agree. Hope Haden comes back fast. Then, Burns can, maybe, cover a #2 WR.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Terry Bradshaw?

  • Michael Conrad

    Just to let you know giving up 38 points is getting carved up the difference is when the Steelers play the Pats.

    The offense chokes more then the D. The last two games the Pats averaged 32.5 to win the Steelers 16.5. We were never in the games because we did not score TD’s and could not control the ball. The D was bad for sure but the O did not play well. Last year no Bell and no MB.

    The Pats are good and it’s because Brady is going to put up points. Pats D is better then last years team.

  • Danny Porter

    Dupree is aweful

  • Lucious Myers

    outside of the boz special was horrible too.

  • Lucious Myers

    the jags are 4-0 against the afcn and we’re the only the team to ore more then seven points(9).

  • mezzetin1

    They didn’t have that much time, c’mon…

  • Steve Johnson

    Glad to see Cam Heyward step up and call out his teammates. Yes, they won the game and Kudos to the team. But lets be honest, the Defense played horrible last night and frankly, I don’t even see them beating Jacksonville let alone the Patriots.

    What has happened to those guys? Sean Davis, Bud Dupree and Arthur Moats were Horrible. Artie Burns didn’t play too much better last night either. Not trying to rain on yet another classic come back by #7 and the Offense, but I would like to see these guys go all the way (Minnesota) , I just don’t see it happening.

    The secondary? Is it time for those guys to hear another voice besides Carnell Lake? Constant confusing in the secondary, this was evident even prior to Shazier going down. I think the (O) is lights out, the Defense? Hmm!

  • mezzetin1

    Bungholes…

  • mezzetin1

    And Marvin Lewis is awful.

  • Conserv_58

    Explain, TB12.

  • mezzetin1

    Yeppers.

  • mezzetin1

    Da woist…….

  • Conserv_58

    The jags weren’t division leaders at the time the Steelers lost to them. Besides Bortles was barely serviceable.

  • nutty32

    They used to say Ted Williams and Don Mattingly could roll out of bed in the middle of winter and smoke line drives at will like it was mid-season. Well, Sean Spence certainly needs his spring training as he was absolutely awful this first game for him this season. Hope he knocks the rust off soon and he’s got something left in the tank.

    Moats has no business being out there. He’s super slow and terrible.

    Sorta hoping Fort finally gets a shot. He was pretty good and active the entire preseason.

  • MC

    Get Bud Dupree off the field. He is an athlete with absolutely no instincts or technique, not a football player at all. He is a big reason big runs are broken off on the left side of the D. Constantly gets washed in the traffic and can’t shed a block to save his life.

  • MC

    Jarvis Jones has made better plays against the run than Bud.

  • MC

    He’s under the radar terrible. People see him get a sack once every three games and give him a pass but all his sacks are coverage sacks and he can’t shed a block to make a play on the run to save his life. Should of drafted Lawson later in the draft to replace him.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Two Years of struggling Against the outside runs. That’s Absurd! This Is Buttler’s fault. Every team that runs outside Zone against Us has been Extremelly successfully. We can not set The Edge.

  • Mutatedgenome

    One tackle each by Heyward, Tuitt, and Dupree??? Now that’s absurd.

  • Don

    On a zone blitz, a DL dropping into coverage is only intended to serve as an obstacle against a quick hot read. Not designed to actually “cover” for any length of time. But if the blitz doesn’t get home, it can get ugly…as you saw there.

  • Don

    Any word on that? Had heard Haden might return for the Pats game.

  • Don

    Yep, he ended up with less than 100 yards passing. Actually, same with Glennon (net of sacks) in the loss to Chicago.

  • Don

    Jags D is no joke. But the Steelers D had them bottled up, too, until the inexplicable 90-yarder at the end. Avoid the pick sixes and the game was 10-9 before that run. The Killer B’s are humming right now, though. I’d really like to see that rematch.

  • Brenton deed

    Ugh… those missed tackles were all it was … forget about hypertheoretical “scheme” arguments.

  • Jim Foles

    He runs himself out of the plays.

  • Jim Foles

    Maybe Chickillo over Dupree and put Dupree in for Moats at ILB

  • John Pennington

    Until some players get benched for their poor play things will stay the same.Dangerfield should be on the field Moates brings nothing to the game should be cut and bring up Kelsey to play ILB.Changes need to be made to slow in the middle and tackling is non existent.

  • Conserv_58

    I adamantly agree with you regarding Moats. Love the guy for the outstanding person that he is off of the field, but as a football player it’s over for him. Watching him let Collins escape his grasp was gut wretching.

  • Conserv_58

    Yup on all points and I’ve said so myself. From now on he’s the invisible man to me since he’s very rarely seen making a meaningful play. He’s Jarvis Jones 2.0.

  • Conserv_58

    That’s because he has zero pass rushing technique. He lacks power and the awareness to anticipate what is about to unfold. He does the same things over and over while expecting different results. I feal sorry for Joey knowing he’s been tasked with putting lipstick on two pigs, (Jarvice and Bud) and try and make them resemble what they were drafted in the first round to do and can’t. I’m all for switching positions for Bud because it’s obvious he’s in over his head as a pass rusher. He’s a square peg in a round hole.

  • Conserv_58

    Spence deserves some consideration because the guy has been sitting home since being let go by the colts on top of not having familiarity with some of the players around him. I could tell he was feeling the pressure because he looked uncomfortable. That’s a lot to ask of a guy in that position.

  • Conserv_58

    Put T.J. at LOLB and Chickillo/Deebo at ROLB. I’d even consider putting Dupree in Shazier’s spot only because he’s a lot faster than Moates, Spence or Fort are.

  • Conserv_58

    Bud is in over his head as a pass rusher. He’s a sqaure peg in a round hole. I’m all for him going from Joey’s group to Jerry’s group because I’m convinced he’d make a much better ILB. That way he can see the field better and take advantage of his athleticism.

  • Conserv_58

    It’s because of Marvin Lewis why they are what they are.

  • Jim Foles

    Moats and Deebo are super slow.

  • Jim Foles

    Can Dupree lose 30 lbs and play ILB next year? If not , we need to draft two ILB’s and we still need CB, S, OLB.

  • MC

    I think that is a good idea, worked with Timmons when he came out. Bud just has absolutely no technique to play OLB especially the strong side. Put him in the middle so he can flow down the line and create a mess which would be more than just getting washed inline by a tight end or run up the arc.