The Steelers are certainly happy with the 6-0 record that they brought back with them from Tennessee on Sunday, but the way the victory happened left an unpleasant taste in the mouth of the victorious Black and Gold.
After racing out to a 27-7 lead, the Steelers yielded points on three of the next four Tennessee possessions, turned the ball over twice, had to sweat a last-minute field goal attempt and were fortunate that Stephen Gostkowski’s effort slipped wide right, securing Pittsburgh the win.
The first half of the game was the way the Steelers want to play football, with a methodical, patient offense that dominated the time of possession and a defense that limited star Titans running back Derrick Henry and got off the field on third down.
But what happened in the second half is what is going to stick with them.
“There was too much splash,” linebacker T.J. Watt said. “We have goals so high for ourselves because we know what we can do. We feel like we can be a truly special defense. That’s why no one’s really satisfied after today. We need to do a lot better job, especially in the second half. It starts with the run. Even though we did a good job in the first half, you’ve got to roll it over into the second half.”
As usual, defensive captain Cam Heyward summed up the mood.
“We’re 6-0. We won the game. Nothing’s guaranteed. It’s a good win,” Heyward said. “But there’s a lot we’ve got to improve on going forward. We were able to answer the challenge in some cases, but we’ve got bigger challenges ahead going forward. …
“There’s a lot of meat on that bone as Coach likes to say. I’m fine saying that. I believe in the guys that we’ve got. I’m confident that we can do more. I look forward to answering the call next week.”
Not that the Tennessee Titans aren’t a quality opponent — they were 5-0 coming in to Sunday’s game — but the Steelers know that as the season goes on and the games get critical, the mistakes they made in the second half against the Titans can be enough to end a team’s season.
“We gave up a big play for a touchdown, we turned the ball over. You do those things against good people, they’re going to get back into the game 100 percent of the time,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Thankfully, our guys didn’t blink and they were able to hold it together and make enough plays to secure victory.”
But they’re also thankful to be working on correcting those errors with a 6-0 record, alone in first place in the AFC North.
“It’s so important to get out of these games with a win, no matter how awesome or how ugly they look,” Watt said. “The offense did a phenomenal job today, and the defense, we’ve got to do a better job in the second half. … I’m not satisfied at all.”
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.”