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The team no one wants to face to the team no one will face in the playoffs

Well, for those of you who were wondering if the Pittsburgh Steelers finally got over that hump of "playing down to competition", the answer manifested itself into a 20-17 loss in Baltimore this afternoon. The Ravens, who started Ryan Mallett at quarterback, played nearly a flawless game while the Steelers played their worst game of the season. Mallett, who was signed by the Ravens 12 days ago, looked like a young Peyton Manning as he sliced and diced the Steelers’ defense for a career high 274 yards and 9 of 18 3rd down conversions. This was also the first game in his career that Mallett did not throw an interception. But enough about that. What does this mean for the Steelers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are done. They are not going to be in the playoffs. This loss put them on their backs. And you know what? This team deserves to watch the playoffs after next week’s finale in Cleveland. This was the worst defense I’ve seen wearing black and gold in nearly 25 years (it would not surprise me if Johnny Manziel goes for 400 yards and 4 TDs next week). This team lost games because of horrendous coaching decisions. This team lost games because of special teams errors. This team has no focus and played today like the Ravens were going to roll over and lay down for the Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger sure picked the worst time to have his worst game of the season. Both of his interceptions were beyond belief. He should have thrown a third one but was saved by a Courtney Upshaw offside call. Even his completions were not sharp today. If Roethlisberger wants to be considered elite, he needs to play better against lesser competition. Today’s loss now marks 5 years since Big Ben last walked out of M&T as a winning quarterback. The last time the Steelers won in Baltimore? Charlie Batch was the quarterback in 2012. The Ravens have 5 total wins and two of them came against the Steelers.

The defense, which had been average at best and sieve-like at worst, finally broke down today. This defense wasted a very strong offense this year and signs of it getting better is far away. The cornerbacks are among the worst in the league and they proved it again today. The solutions for this issue are still enrolled in college and the Steelers must address this in next year’s draft.

Mike Tomlin also deserves a share of the blame. Today’s game is proof why he should never be considered for Coach of the Year (I pick Andy Reid for that honor). The team looked lackadaisical and unprepared. John Harbaugh and his staff completely outcoached Tomlin and his staff today. I will not call for Tomlin’s head but this team is too cocky and arrogant. They got a lesson today and I for one hope these cocky idiots who’ve yet to win anything in this league will eat several helpings of humble pie. I want this team to be angry while watching the Jets and Chiefs in the playoffs, thinking "that should be us."

With the Jets winning today in overtime against the Patriots, the Jets now hold control of their own playoff fates. The Steelers owned all tiebreakers but now are in a position where they will be scoreboard watching but really, does it matter? The Jets showed me this today: talent alone will not win games in the NFL. You have to heart and focus. The Jets have it, the Steelers don’t. The Steelers went from a team that no one wants to face in the playoffs to the team no one will face in the playoffs. And they have no one else to blame but themselves.

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