The Pittsburgh Steelers have become well-known as a team that isn’t afraid of failure. Head coach Mike Tomlin has notoriously referred to it as not wanting to live in their fears.
They take that mantra with them wherever they go, including to the fourth quarter of Sunday’s matchup with the previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans.
The Steelers were leading by a field goal and were driving deep into Tennessee territory when they were faced with a 3rd and 12 at the Titans’ 19-yard line.
Ben Roethlisberger surveyed the scene and saw that he had JuJu Smith-Schuster working down the seam against a Titans linebacker. He threw for the end zone, eschewing multiple shorter options that might have been more open.
The ball hit Smith-Schuster’s hands, was batted up by the defender and intercepted, giving the Titans new life and making Pittsburgh sweat out the final seconds before Stephen Gostkowski’s missed field goal ended their comeback hopes.
The Steelers didn’t need the touchdown, already ahead by three points. With only 2:40 on the clock, a first down would have nearly ended the game all by itself. But Roethlisberger went for the kill shot on a mismatch.
📽 Amani Hooker sauve Tennessee ! 3e interception du match pour la défense sur cette passe déviée de Ben Roethlisberger ! #Titans
— NFL France (@NFLFrance) October 25, 2020
“I’ll take JuJu down the middle on a linebacker,” Roethlisberger said after the game. “I’ve just got to get it about six inches higher on his back shoulder. You don’t expect the ball to get tipped up in the air and intercepted. You hope it falls incomplete, but they intercepted it.”
While Roethlisberger was taking the blame for putting the ball in a place where the defender could get a hand on it, Smith-Schuster lamented not being able to come down with the ball.
“I was glad Ben threw it,” he said. “Obviously, Ben trusted me enough to throw the ball there. … That’s a play I have to make.”
But despite Roethlisberger’s slight impression and Smith-Schuster being unable to secure the ball, you can expect the Steelers to continue to chase that type of play.
“It’s NFL football,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re playing to win. We don’t live in our fears. Is it a combat play? Is it tight? Yes. But we’ve got a quarterback that’s been doing that for 17 years. Sometimes, you’ve got to acknowledge that they made the play in the moment. We desire to and that’s why we’re not going to live in our fears. We’re going to go in those instances.”
From the Steelers Locker Room: Ben Roethlisberger Admits Offensive Struggles, Defends Receivers
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger answered questions from the media, including Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, after his team’s 19-14 win over the Ravens.
Roethlisberger admitted the offensive struggles, defended his receivers and expressed moving focus to getting better.
Steelers Postgame Show: Steelers Move on From Ravens with Sloppy Win
After several postponements and an extremely bizarre week plus leading up to the game, the Steelers now move on from Week 12 still undefeated after a 19-14 win over the Ravens.
Host Mike Asti was joined by Steelers Now colleague Cale Berger on Pittsburgh Postgame on Pittsburgh Sports Live to discuss everything that was the sloppy Wednesday afternoon game. Have the Steelers slowly been exposed this season despite winning? Does the running game need fixed for this team to make a championship run (no pun intended)? Mike and Cale answer those questions and more while evaluating just how good the 11-0 Steelers actually are.
They couldn’t fully move on without talking about some questionable decisions by the NFL in continuously moving this game but not others around the league.
Mike Tomlin Unloads on Steelers ‘Disappointing’ Performance in Win over Ravens
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated their arch rivals on Wednesday afternoon, beating the Baltimore Ravens 19-14 to sweep the season series against Baltimore for the second time in 11 seasons and improve to an AFC- and NFL-leading 11-0 on the 2020 season.
None of that made Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin very happy.
Despite the victory, the Steelers played a sloppy football game, with two turnovers, big plays against the defense and a plethora of dropped passes that conspired to keep the depleted Ravens in the game far longer than they should have been.
Tomlin did not pull any punches in letting his team and the public know how disappointed he was in the performance, even after a win.
“To be bluntly honest, I’m really disappointed in our performance tonight,” Tomlin said to lead off his postgame press conference. “We did enough to win, but that’s all. It was really junior varsity, to be quite honest with you. It was in all three phases.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 2, 2020
“We couldn’t run the ball effective when we needed to. We dropped too many significant passes — very catchable, makable passes. We didn’t make significant plays in the special teams game. Our kickoff coverage unit wasn’t good enough. We turned the damn ball over. We gave up big plays in critical moments on defense. Can’t have it. They converted a long run on a possession down before the half. Unacceptable. They had a 70-yard touchdown late in the game. Unacceptable.
“We’re fortunate tonight. It’s good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of or be excited about.”
Tomlin would not accept the almost insane set of circumstances leading up to the game, with it postponed three times and finally played at 3:40 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, as an excuse for his team’s play.
When asked specifically about the offense’s struggles with dropped passes and in the red zone, Tomlin was just as blunt and even more concise:
Tomlin add that he could not recall the last time he was this upset after a win.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I know this one is pretty frustrating.”