Week 13 Game Thread: Steelers vs. Ravens

Happy Turkey Day, people. Here are some YouTubez to get you in the proper frame of mind ahead of the 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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  • Rob D

    Ravens played like I thought the STeelers would play.

    • Intropy

      Mediocre but just enough to beat another poor-to-average team?

      • Rob D

        That’s one way to say it, I guess..lol.. I thought the STeelers carried some momentum into this one but they came out meek and mild in the first half. No fire. I understand being cautious but this was a must win for them and they looked dead to start the game. O well. they are who we thought they were. A non playoff team. Now they have to win every remaining game. Not going to happen.

        • David

          Well, it was a tall order to expect from us. This game followed the pattern for all our losses (except the Patsies game): fall behind big, make a valiant comeback, fall short at the end.
          Sucks, but now we can at least focus on the draft and free agents.

          • Intropy

            I really hope they use the rest of the season as a valuable tool for evaluating and coaching up young players.

          • Eric

            They won’t. That’s not how the Steelers operate.

          • Rob D

            It would make perfect sense, wouldn’t it? Look at what we have found out already because of injuries alone this year:

            Velasco might be a better choice at center for us than Pouncey (I Like MP but one of the big negatives on him was allowing pressure up the middle..not enough junk in the trunk..no such problems with Mr. V..not even a hint of it)

            Worilds is eye popping good at LOLB..both against the run and more importantly, rushing the passer. If JJ makes the jump to very good next year, is Woodley trade bait? Just asking.

            WE need to find out if Golden or Shamarko or both as possible answers down the road. At least put the retiring Ryan Clark on the bench to facilitate that “look see”

            Put Adams at RT because that’s his position. GEt him started on it.

            But like Eric says below..that’s not how it works in Pittsburgh. I admire it but I also believe a strategic retreat can be very beneficial in the long run. Being in the top 12 vs. top 17 can be HUGE in terms of the level of impact player you can find. Plus they are much cheaper now.

          • Intropy

            Don’t forget Landry Jones. We need to find out what he is. And saving wear on Ben is a bonus.

            I’d also like some more tape on Moye, and both he and Wheaton look like they’d benefit from game experience.

          • Rob D

            Yep. With the mish mash O-line we’ll be putting out there (Velasco being a massive loss)..Ben’s health is in jeopardy. We cannot afford him going down and impacting the start of next season. He’s down to 4 prime years left ..tops..given his injury history and monumental sack totals over the last half decade. If he gets a paper cut, I want him out of the game. Again, not happening. Expect him to get destroyed after completing a TD pass to win the last game and complete a .500 season..and Tomlin STILL doesn’t have a losing record! Huzzah!!

          • Rob D

            Crap. just found out Velasco has a torn achilles..that’s a full year of recovery. So that means Pouncey is back next year. Worse things can happen to a team. Also, we’d take a massive hit by cutting or trading Woodley..so we can watch him degrade like bad concrete for another year..if he manages to stay on the field that is..which is very doubtful. He’s a china doll at this stage due to age/rust/”making too much money to care” syndrome. Yeah, I am a bit down on the guy.

  • Eric

    The game was decided by field position. The Ravens consistently had good field position and were able to peck the Steelers to death with field goals.

    The Ravens avg drive started at the 35, the Steelers avg drive started at the 26. I actually thought the offense played really well considering the conditions. The defense was just OK, if they could have made one big stop it would have been the difference.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    That was one of the most excruciating regular season games that I can remember. If we’d won, the bandwagon would be overflowing. And I’m sure that this will provoke the Jim Mora reaction, but our position for the playoffs is not dramatically different than it was last Wednesday. If we beat the Dolphins and Bengals at home, and the Ravens lose at Detroit, we will very likely control our own destiny for the 6th seed by December 16.

    Our most prominent rivals for the 6th seed are the Ravens (who play at Detroit, the Pats and at Cincy the final three weeks), the Dolphins (who we host, and then play the Pats, Bills and Jets), the Titans (who have lost 6 of 8) and the Chargers (who we can beat out with the conference record tie breaker). Playing with the ESPN Playoff Machine, as long as we win our three conference games, we can even lose in Green Bay and have a good shot at the 6th seed.

    As for how we are playing, we’re a few missed field goals from winning 7 of our last 8, so that doesn’t concern me. During this stretch, the wins have been solid and two of the three losses have been close. And the much-maligned Haley offense seems to be keeping Ben upright despite going against strong Ds with our shaky OL.

    What does concern me are the mounting injuries, especially Velasco and the OL. Hopefully Beachum and Adams will be back soon, along with Woodley, Keisel and DeCastro.

    On the NFL Network, Steve Mariucci praised how we’ve gotten better by quartile (the other panelists hooted like quartile was an obscure concept from astrophysics). We started 0-4, but then went 2-2 and 3-1. I think we can go 3-1 or 4-0 in the last quartile. The biggest test, if Rodgers remains out, will be at home against the Bengals in two weeks. Let’s win this week and make it mean something.

    • David

      I hope we can go 3-1 as well, but man, the injuries…
      Also, Tomlin’s little dipsy-doo, if intentional, was really, really a desperate move. If not, then it still the dumbest thing to do since Spygate.

  • David

    Well, isn’t that just freaking great. We may lose draft picks now because of our doofus coach.

    • Eric

      Doubt it. How many picks did the Patriots lose for Spygate? How many did the Jets lose for repeated and organized instances of trying to disrupt kickoff returns? Just a PR move in my opinion. Plus it sets the table if anyone tries something like that again for harsher punishments.

      • David

        Hope you’re right. I over-reacted a bit; just couldn’t believe, still to this day, that he did that on the kickoff.

        • Rob D

          He’s just following the footsteps of Cowher (the famous, almost punch..lol..) and Joe Flacco as recently as last year’s super bowl where the mic’s caught him saying someone has to take out the return man. They should have simply awarded a TD to the Ravens, ejected Tomlin from the game (and probably subsequent games, if not the remaining games of the year) and enforced a 15 yd penalty on the ensuing KO. That would have taken care of his idiotic attempt to influence the score of the game. I have been a Tomlin guy from his hiring..but this is a HUGE mark against him in my books. IF you can’t control yourself during an important game (and this is the one we’ll look back on if they don’t make it to the post season again) when can you be expected to do so? I think the pressure is affecting him. For the first time, a lot of people are questioning everything he does and says. This isn’t going to help.

          REally, they should be enforcing the idea that coaches, trainers and players and assorted hangers on (like Jerry Jones) to stay in their designated areas. It’s a free for all.

      • David

        I see now and feel better about it. The NFL is basically saying that if the Raisins don’t make the playoffs or the seeding is changed due to the lack of a TD on that return, we will lose a draft pick or our place in the draft order. Has to do with the 5th or 6th tiebreaker that takes into account points scored if two teams are tied by records.

  • Cols714

    This is a great post by FO on the Steelers offense and improvements this year. I agree that Haley has really turned things around. I think he’ll be back next year and deservedly so.

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/film-room/2013/film-room-haley-fisch-lee

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    According to FO, we have the best odds of getting the 6th seed in the AFC: we’re at 30%, the Dolphins are at 28% and the Ravens are at 25%. So if we win this week, our odds on FO will go up considerably. And a Ravens win at home against the Vikings shouldn’t hurt our odds at all; this has to already be a high-likelihood outcome in the FO simulations (with the Ravens’ hard games being their last 3): http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/playoffodds

    • Cols714

      I don’t see it happening. I don’t think we’ll win 3 games to get into the playoffs. But I hope so. If we make the playoffs I think we’ll win our first game.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        The FO stats can’t account for OL injuries. If I knew that the OL would play the way it has recently, I’d be very confident in our chances. Even with the injuries, I think we have a better chance than is commonly understood.

        • ThereIsNoSpoon

          Do we know what DeCastro’s status is? Because I agree with Easy in that I think our chances are decent. Here is the thing: Miami’s strength is their pass defense, specifically the pass rush. They actually have a poor rush defense, according to FootballOutsiders (30th out of 32.) BTSC says Adams is going to start at LT. At first I panicked, thinking the Miami pass rush was going to eat him alive a la J Allen in the London game. And while that may still happen, I think (hope?) Adams is a much better run blocker than pass blocker. So I’m thinking (hoping?) Le’Veon Bell has a monster day. I would feel more certain about it if I knew DeCastro were starting, but I do like our chances on Sunday, especially if the D can get after Tannehill.

          • Cols714

            I really like that Adams is getting another shot at LT even if it is because of injury. He’s played well lately. At least after this game we will know if we need to draft a LT or not. If not, then we draft a L and move Adams to RT and have a pretty good OL as long as people stop getting injured.

          • Randy Steele

            He hasn’t played well, Cols. (Remember the facemask penalty he drew on his fifth or sixth play as LT in the Ravens’ game against Suggs?) He was routinely beaten during his short stint. But he’s about all we have, so there’s that.

      • David

        Well, our remaining games:

        MIA 6-6
        CIN 8-4
        GB 5-6-1
        CLE 4-8

        I can’t see 3 wins here, either. CIN has beaten us the last two times at Heinz. We play at GB when Rodgers is back. Ugh.

        But I’m hopeful for the best.

        BTW, the latest mock at CBS has us taking the OT Taylor Lewan from Michigan at #10. That would be nice.