As I sat and watched my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers pull a no-show against the hated - and under-manned - Baltimore Ravens, a flurry of emotions entered my mind.
Incredulous. Disgust. Sadness.
After I yelled and cussed myself into an emotional oblivion at Buffalo Wild Wings in Cincinnati, I came to the following realization: my Steelers may not qualify for the 2015 AFC playoffs. The worst part is that being swept at the hands of the undermanned Ravens may be the main culprit.
As painful as it may be for me and the rest of Steeler Nation, let us count the ways.
In the first Ravens game on Thursday night football, we somehow blew a 20-7 second half lead at home. Michael Vick subbed for an injured Ben Roethlisberger and played a decent game. Le'Veon Bell had a great game, and even that maligned defense (more on that bunch later) forced Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense into turnovers.
But then Todd Haley - and Mike Tomlin - happened.
On two fourth and shorts in overtime, the coaching staff refused to put the ball in Bell's hands. The first fourth down they called a QB sweep for a MUCH OLDER Vick, and lost yardage. The second fourth and short, they called for a pass (!) to Antonio Brown, whom Vick overthrew.
That last fourth down failure helped the Ravens move into field goal range and kicked a game-winning 50-yard field goal.
Now fast forward to yesterday's game.
Simply put, my Steelers did not come to play. They acted as if they already had a playoff spot locked up. They also seemingly took the undermanned Ravens for granted and somehow forgot that this rivalry is considered the best in the NFL for a reason.
So here we are Steeler Nation. Our team got swept by the weakest Ravens team in recent memory.
I could blame Tomlin and the coaching staff for having the team ill-prepared to face the immortal Ryan Mallett (!). I could blame the general manager for not drafting any studs for our secondary and instead relying on a bunch of stiffs (outside of Mike Mitchell and Brandon Boykin). And speaking of Boykin, why in the hell did Tomlin not use him more than that stiff Antwon Blake? UGH!
The fact of matter is simple: the Steelers do not deserve to be in the playoffs. Not after a bad performance against the Ravens (twice). Not with a defense that cannot stop a parked car. Not with a suspect decision-making coaching staff.