I'll freely admit the recap from yesterday was pretty shitty. I had to rush it when I got home from the bar. With the evening editor shift at SB Nation starting at 6, I only had about 40 minutes to knock the post out beforehand. So I didn't have a lot of time to let myself collect my thoughts about the game. Also, I was still drunk, so the results were pretty much a mishmash of boozy anger and poorly constructed thoughts. Pretty much Jeff Reed's constant stream of consciousness.
Anyway, it always sucks to lose to Baltimore, no matter what. A bunch of their retard fans have naturally showed up in the comments trying to talk shit and beat their chests. That's as par for the course as them making excuses when the Ratbirds lose. It must be awesome to be so thrilled about your savior quarterback throwing one touchdown pass and finally beating a division rival on the road. In his fourth try.
At the same time, the Steelers played well enough that they were in a position to win holding the lead inside two minutes. That they failed is a unfortunate revisit to last season's stumbles, but given the circumstances, they can't feel like they shit the bed, either. Baltimore is one of the AFC contenders this year. While Ed Reed improves their defense and a fully healthy Ray Rice is a weapon, you can't say that them being back to full health accounts for the same gap as an elite starting quarterback and a fourth stringer who might have been cut if Roethlisberger weren't suspended.
Joe Flacco played reasonably well. He was good in the first half when the Steelers left short stuff open and at the very end. Then there was most of the rest of the second half when Flacco pretty much almost gave the game away with an interception to Ike Taylor that the Ravens were fortunate not to have paid for. That this is considered a "coronation" for Flacco is silly. He threw one touchdown and that was on his second chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The guy still has more picks than touchdowns this year, for crying out loud.
It will be interesting to see how LeBeau plays them the second time around. The defense was all too willing to give up the nickel and dime stuff in the first half and Baltimore was smart enough to take it. I understand why the Steelers didn't blitz most of the game, but playing that far off the receivers is bizarre, especially when the Ravens don't really have a deep passing threat. It seems like it took until the second half until that was tightened up any. Fortunately it was still only a three-point game by then.
Dave's Football Blog had an excellent post chiding Bruce Arians and Mike Tomlin for not at least attempting to convert that last 3rd down on that last offensive possession at the goal line. On one hand, I can understand not wanting Batch to risk a turnover, but given that the Steelers had just had to stop a 4th and goal a few minutes earlier, being that willing to put overwhelming pressure again on the defense is such quick succession is a bigger risk than any one pass attempt.
Like Behind The Steel Curtain, I was confused that, if the hold called on Fox on the successive punt occurred in the end zone, then why wasn't it ruled a safety? It doesn't make much difference, ultimately, as the way the Ravens were moving the ball at the end, they would have probably gotten a go-ahead field goal even if they got a safety on the Fox hold. Just curious as to the ruling.
Mendy didn't put on a show in the running game, but it's still surprising how well they were able to run with the passing game being the modest threat that it is. It's not like Ed Reed is a huge help in the running game, so it'd be interesting to see what's caused the drop-off in the Baltimore front seven. The pass blocking was pretty good, as well, with Baltimore not getting a ton of pressure unless they sent the house. That bodes well for the next match-up.
Like I said, I was pissed off yesterday, so emotion got the better of me when I said the Ravens won't have a shot at the division. They'll definitely be in it, and this was a big win for them. It was really one they had to have. I'm not going to be okay with missing the chance for the Steelers to put a lot of distance between them and both Baltimore and Cincy.
As for Jeff Reed, it has to be over now. I can't imagine they would try to replace him before the end of the year, though unless he actually starts getting shit together soon, that's not entirely off the table, either. I understand those are both longish kicks into the open end zone in Heinz, but that's three critical field goals now he's missed this season. Deeper kick offs or not, if he's not making himself worth the trouble, then he has to go.