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Chill Out or Freak Out: Steelers vs. Ravens Week 16 edition

The Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens. What now? Is it time to Chill Out or Freak Out?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The only way to chill out about the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers after Week 16 is to admit that the Steelers are a mediocre team and expect mediocrity. I am not ready to do that, so the Week 16 Chill Out / Freak Out will be one big freak-out rant.

Here is why I am freaking out:

Understandable Loss: Joe Flacco vs. Michael Vick and Josh Scobee

The Steelers lost that one. While it was disappointing, it was understandable that the Steelers would lose a game with Vick at the helm and Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines carrying a clipboard. Placekicker Josh Scobee also botched several kicks. Vick and Scobee made convenient scapegoats, but the loss was still painful.

Incomprehensible Loss: Ryan Mallett vs. Ben Roethlisberger

How did the Steelers manage to lose a second time to the Ravens? At least after the first matchup we could blame an inept Vick and a horribly inaccurate Scobee. In Week 16, Roethlisberger was healthy and the team had found a reliable kicker in Chris Boswell. Moreover, the Ravens had to start Ryan "I overslept," their fourth quarterback of the season.

Pattern of Losing to Awful Teams

If the loss to a terrible team were an aberration, there would be fewer reasons to freak out. All teams can have an off week. The Carolina Panthers suffered their first loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers, however, have a track record of losing to awful teams. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, a total embarrassment. In fact, in 2014 the Buccaneers beat only the Steelers and the Washington Redskins.

Ability to Make Opposing Quarterbacks Look Awesome

Ryan Mallett looked like a future Hall of Famer against the Steelers defense. This phenomenon is not new. In fact, last year en route to their loss to the Buccaneers, the Steelers made Mike "Oh, I forgot about that guy" Glennon look awesome. Glennon threw for over 300 yards that game. This season, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 372 yards against the Steelers. Russell Wilson averaged a season-high 11.5 yards per pass against the Steelers en route to a 345-yard game, his best of the season (and the only time he had more than 300 yards passing the entire season.) Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron wasn't even in the entire game and he still threw for 280 yards. against the 49ers he only tallied 192.


I love the Steelers, but they are a tough team to watch. Fans should not have to worry about a total collapse, absurdly inane play call, clock mismanagement or bad decisions week after week, yet it is nearly impossible to chill out during Steelers game. The Steelers have become masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. On Sunday, they managed to make a playoff spot an uphill battle, one that depends on other teams losing.

Again, if I were to write a chill-out post after Sunday's debacle, it would mean I expect less of the Steelers. The loss was frustrating because the team is capable of so much more. The offense was on-fire going into Sunday's game against the Ravens, yet after the game the only kind of fire that was burning was a Steelers dumpster fire.