The excuses aren’t hard to find if the Pittsburgh Steelers

in Interviews & Stories 25.11.2019 04:15
von zhangzk • 178 Beiträge

The false start that wasn’t called on a play that ended with a Los Angeles Chargers touchdown . The apparent block in the back that helped spring Chargers punt returner Desmond King for the game-tying score.The weird floater by Ben Roethlisberger on a pass that slipped out of his hand and landed into the awaiting arms of Los Angeles rookie safety Derwin James.Yet the Steelers understand it’s pointless and expensive to complain Artie Burns Jersey , one of the reasons coach Mike Tomlin opted not to vent — publicly anyway — after his team let a 16-point lead slip away in a 33-30 loss to the Chargers on Sunday night that reduced Pittsburgh’s once comfortable cushion in the AFC North to mere percentage points over second-place Baltimore heading into the final month of the season.“I am going to keep my mouth shut,” Tomlin said after his team dropped its second straight to fall to 7-4-1, just ahead of the Ravens at 7-5. “I am going to do that because I send enough money (in fines to NFL headquarters) in New York.”Tomlin understands the calls the officials do or don’t make are out of his hands. His team’s ability to avoid losing with a 16-point advantage at home — something the Steelers had been able to do 174 out of the previous 175 times it happened in franchise history — is another matter entirely. One that is far more troubling than a handful of questionable decisions by referee Bill Vinovich’s crew.“We didn’t establish rhythm in the beginning of the second half,” Tomlin said. “We had a couple drives killed by penalties, holding penalties, it’s catastrophic.”Pittsburgh took the second-half kickoff and moved into Los Angeles territory only to see a 22-yard gain by James Conner wiped out when officials flagged left guard Ramon Foster for holding. The Steelers punted three plays later.Pittsburgh’s second possession of the third quarter appeared to be picking up steam when left tackle Alejandro Villanueva was called for holding. The drive stalled and Jordan Berry punted yet again.King fielded it at the Chargers 27, slipped past a couple of tacklers — including Pittsburgh’s Brian Allen, who may have been helped to the ground thanks to a shove on the back of his right shoulder by Los Angeles gunner Rayshawn Jenkins — and raced down the right sideline for a touchdown that helped tie the game at 23.The Chargers didn’t need any assistance, however, in taking control in the fourth quarter. Philip Rivers led Los Angeles on scoring drives of 79 and 64 yards on the Chargers’ final two drives Sean Davis Jersey , facing just two third downs in the process.The Steelers did not get called for a defensive penalty on either of the drives. Instead, Los Angeles simply did whatever it wanted against a defense that couldn’t seem to get in the right position.“You can’t say anything about our offense, our offense scored 30 points,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “As a defense, we’re not getting the job done. I don’t look for anybody else to say that the officials did this or anything else, we didn’t get the job done as a defense.”And now Pittsburgh faces a daunting stretch if it wants to lock up a fifth straight playoff berth. The Steelers visit hapless Oakland next Sunday, a meeting that looks like a mismatch. Yet the Raiders have always been trouble for Pittsburgh, particularly on the road.The Steelers haven’t won in Oakland since 1995. They fell to the Raiders at the Coliseum in 2012 and 2013 to teams that finished 4-12 both seasons.In 2006 Pittsburgh headed west as the reigning Super Bowl champions and somehow lost to a squad that went 2-14.After that it’s a visit by the New England Patriots then a visit to New Orleans two days before Christmas before wrapping up the regular season at Heinz Field against Cincinnati.A shot at earning one of the two seeds — a position the Steelers were in the mix for after a six-game winning streak had them at 7-2-1 — appears gone. At this point, holding off the resurgent Ravens is no given.“We can’t seem to win it at home right now,” Foster said. “So maybe we’ll be great playoff road warriors.”NOTES: WR Ryan Switzer is in the concussion protocol after taking an illegal hit from Los Angeles linebacker Jatavis Brown in the fourth quarter. … RB James Conner is dealing with a left leg contusion. NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Desperately needing a win Ramon Foster Jersey , Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin went for the jugular with a fake punt call late in the fourth quarter against the Saints.Upback Roosevelt Nix came up just short, and so did the Steelers in an excruciating, infuriating 31-28 loss Sunday that may strangle their playoff hopes.“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Tomlin said, adding that he had confidence in the play call and figured there was enough time left for his offense to get the ball back with time to score if it failed.He was partly right.The failed fake allowed New Orleans to take over at the Pittsburgh 46 with 4:01 left. Soon after, the second of two critical fourth-down pass interference calls on cornerback Joe Haden set up the Saints for the winning touchdown, a 2-yard pass from Drew Brees to Michael Thomas with 1:25 left.“We had clear opportunities to win the game and we didn’t seize those moments. That is what good teams do,” defensive lineman Cameron Heyward said. “I think we are good team, but we have to make those critical adjustments.”To claim the AFC East, Pittsburgh (8-6-1) needs to beat Cincinnati next Sunday and have Baltimore (9-6) lose at home to Cleveland. Failing that Vince Williams Jersey , the Steelers would need the unlikely scenario of an Indianapolis-Tennessee tie to earn a wild card.“You can be as skillful as you want on both sides of the ball and special teams, but there is still a small element of luck involved in football,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “It’s a play here, a play there.”The Steelers have come up a play short too often down the stretch, losing four of their last five by a total of 16 points.Even after the go-ahead touchdown, they were driving into field goal range when receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled at the New Orleans 34. That play ended their hope to stay atop the AFC East even though Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, Antonio Brown had 14 catches for 185 yards and two scores, and Smith-Schuster added 11 receptions for 115 yards.“It’s tough to go out like that,” Smith-Schuster said. “I got tackled, I fumbled Zach Gentry Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey , game over. I was just trying to get down. They made a good play.”The Steelers were much less sure about the penalties on Haden. He was flagged for interference in the end zone in the first quarter after a fourth-down heave from Brees to running back Alvin Kamara sailed over both of their heads, leading to Mark Ingram’s 1-yard touchdown run.“I don’t know what they saw,” Haden said. “I just tried to jump up and go get the ball.”The second flag came when he defended Saints receiver Michael Thomas aggressively on a fourth-and-2 pass that hit the ground, prolonging the winning drive.“It’s an offensive game,” Haden said. “You can’t touch these guys. It’s tough being a defensive back. It’s unfortunate. I’m very frustrated. This means a lot to me. I come out here, bust my tail and try to play good defense.”The Steelers fought back from deficits in both halves. Trailing 14-6, they converted four third downs on a 15-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard scoring toss to uncovered running back Jaylen Samuels and a 2-point conversion to tie the score 40 seconds before halftime.After they fell behind 24-14 in the third quarter, Roethlisberger led back-to-back touchdown drives of 75 and 66 yards to put the Steelers ahead 28-24.But their last three possessions ended in a fumble by Stevan Ridley, the failed fake punt and Schuster’s fumble.“I didn’t even know it was coming Zach Gentry Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey ,” Roethlisberger said of the fake punt, on which Nix took the snap, stepped to his right and tried to run through the middle. “I turned around just in time to see it. There’s obviously a reason that he called it, but I don’t really know what was going on.”The Steelers, who beat New England at home last week, almost captured a second big win in a row against the Saints (13-2), who clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.Now Pittsburgh is looking up at the Ravens in the AFC East for the first time since October.“All we have is a chance,” Heyward said. “We just have to go play Cincinnati this week and get a win. You never know what can happen.”

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