PITTSBURGH — Steelers running back Jaylen Warren is a straight shooter. It’s not a surprise he was the guy who called it like it was after Pittsburgh’s bad 24-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at home on Sunday. Pittsburgh came off a big road win against the Cincinnati Bengals and was energized by an offensive performance that gave them their first 400-yard game in three years. But that momentum did not carry over.
For Warren, he believes that the team took the Cardinals too lightly. That is a tricky thing to hear after a loss to a 2-10 team, but that’s what he sees as the crucial loss.
“I guess just taking them lightly — lighter than we should have,” Warren said. “Yeah, could be.”
That is an indictment on the Steelers that no one wants to hear in the locker room, and Mitch Trubisky and Cam Heyward vehemently denied that. But Warren feels the Steelers got too high off their performance in Cincinnati last week and that it bled over into this week’s prep. They thought they should win, and instead of trying to prepare to win, they acted like it would be a given.
“Probably, let the highs gets too high,” Warren said. “This is not the lowest of the low. I think we expected to win instead of wanting to work to win. We just have to get back in the lab and get right.”
The Steelers did everything you can’t do in a football game. They made mental mistakes (two illegal offensive formations, a timeout for being a player short in the huddle and a too-many-men penalty on defense).
They took penalties in big moments. Elandon Roberts took a personal foul on a third down that gave the Cardinals three points. Joey Porter Jr. committed defensive pass interference on another, leading to a touchdown when the Cardinals would have kicked a field goal. Special teams captain Miles Killebrew had three penalties — two of them personal fouls.
That leads to a disjointed loss, which goes beyond just how they performed, when it’s this big of a meltdown, that all goes to the week’s prep work and how the group collectively came in with a mindset.