Fans love a scapegoat. Someone who they can point their finger towards and proclaim, “That is the person responsible for what happened!”
In sports, it isn’t always as simple as ONE player who is responsible for a victory or a defeat, especially in football. Everyone remembers the game-winning catch, but what about that 4th and short which was converted to keep the drive going.
The big moment play doesn’t happen with the other.
The touchdown pass to lead the team to the postseason doesn’t take place without the running back chipping the edge rusher and the tackle picking up the scraps.
You get the picture.
After all, it was the final pass of the day for the Steelers which went through his hands. Check out what he said after the game:
JuJu Smith-Schuster takes the blame for the loss pic.twitter.com/xUK75MIble— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 22, 2019
Accountability is huge, and kudos to Smith-Schuster for falling on the sword and taking the blame for the loss, but anyone who thinks the loss is solely on Smith-Schuster might want to reconsider their line of thinking.
The Steelers failed in so many areas Sunday at MetLife Stadium it is hard to count just how bad it was.
Some bullet points of where the team failed in Week 16:
- An offensive line who surrendered 4 sacks, 7 QB hits and 10.5 tackles for loss.
- Devlin Hodges throwing 2 costly interceptions, one taking points off the board.
- Only reaching the red-zone once, and turning the ball over in that area.
- Going 3-for-14 on third downs.
- What about the 22 game streak of turning the ball over?
All had a huge part in the Steelers loss, yet some are pointing the finger directly at Smith-Schuster.
I get it. JuJu has had his moments where the blame easily fell on him. Everyone remembers the fumbles vs. the New Orleans Saints in 2018, and the fumble in Week 5 this season in overtime vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Every single time he has owned it, just like he did after the game Sunday. But this time fans should see the bigger picture. This team, from the coaching staff to the players all have blame on their shoulders. It doesn’t fall on just one person.
They call football the ultimate team game for a reason. You win together as a team, and you lose together as a team. The success the Steelers have experienced throughout this tumultuous 2019 season has been tremendous, and the failures they have experienced have been heart-wrenching. It is all part of the game we love and follow so closely.
When looking back at the 2019 season, will you think back to the dropped pass on 4th and 7 as the reason the Steelers lost control of their playoff destiny? If so, you are a different breed of fan than me. I’ll remember a season marred with injuries at key positions, and a team which battled their way back to relevance come season’s end.
The highs and lows of an NFL season are a part of culture we immerse ourselves in on a daily basis. Pointing the finger at one player, or for JuJu to even take full blame for the loss, during the tough times are maddening.
It may be hard to fathom, but the Steelers still have a shot at the playoffs, and it is time to see how this thing plays out! Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17.