When you are playing 2 road games in five days, against division opponents, you are going to need a superlative effort in those games. The Steelers were able to create big plays on offense and defense against the Cleveland Browns, but there were not able to replicate those things against the Ravens. The Steelers had chances, but they came up a little short all night.
The following play illustrates that theme perfectly:
Obviously, this is the same stunt that the Steelers worked to perfection against the Browns. However, this time, it was a big third down conversion for the Ravens. Baltimore's ability to convert third and long was a huge factor in the game. Simply, the Steelers need to get off the field and give their offense the opportunity to establish some rhythm. When you only have four possessions in the first half, it is hard to establish any kind of tempo on offense.
As is illustrated, William Gay just needs to take a better angle. Look at the distance between him and the tackle. Moreover, Will Allen has to play this better. He has to know that he cannot rush through the tackle. Allen should be thinking that he is in great position to knock the ball down if it is thrown short.
In terms of missed opportunities, none were bigger than this:
As you saw, Ben Roethlisberger actually had three options on this play. Run, throw right, or throw left. This is the exact same play that the Steelers scored on. Pre snap, Ben sees a loaded box. The Ravens are playing Cover 0. Therefore, looking to pass the ball was a good idea.
No, if it was me, I am going to Antonio Brown here. He is the offensive play maker. When it comes to crunch time, I always prefer to think in terms of players, not plays.
But, the play was there. This is just a terrible play by Emmanuel Sanders. If Sanders could not see the ball, he should have jumped directly into the cornerback and drawn a pass interference penalty. I just don't know what Sanders is doing here. Drifting backwards, as he is doing, is never the correct thing to do.
At first, I thought Sanders didn't know that the ball was thrown, but he clearly looks back towards Ben. The Ravens tried a back shoulder throw to Torrey Smith earlier in the game. Ike Taylor made a great play to break it up. If the Ravens' defender would've played it that well, it would have been one thing. But to end the game on such a poor play by Sanders is tough.
So, let's end on a high note:
What is so impressive about Jason Worilds right now is his large repertoire of pass rush moves. Worilds has shown a spin move, a great bull rush, and now this.
Worilds has also been great against the run. His performance during the month of November has been amazing. One hopes that Shamarko Thomas and Jarvis Jones will make this same leap from year one to year two.
There were two negative things with this play. First, the Steelers need to get this ball once it is knocked out of Joe Flacco's hands. Second, Worilds appeared to aggravate his knee. This was Worlids last sack of the game; I think his knee may have had something to do with that.
This was going to be a tough game for the Steelers. Winning in Baltimore is never easy. Playing in Baltimore on minimal rest (is it really that big of a shock that offensive linemen started getting hurt like that late in the game?), made it even more difficult. However, the Steelers flat out didn't execute when given the opportunity.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
Follow @NealCoolong Follow @btsteelcurtain Follow @SBNationNFL
- Steelers have fourth-most players on IR in 2013
- Meet Eric Olsen and Rashad Butler, the Steelers newest roster additions
- Weekend Checkdown: the top stories of the week
- Steelers place Fernando Velasco on injured reserve, release DeMarcus Van Dyke
- Poor first half of season too much to overcome for Steelers team that's played much better in second half
- Chasing Franchise Immortality: Steelers Antonio Brown is within striking range of Steelers' receiving records
- Ravens coach John Harbaugh cracks a joke about Mike Tomlin's special teams prowess
- Hit on Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell broke part of his helmet