They'll moan and complain that the Steelers should have thrown the ball to secure the first down that would have sealed the game late, and they'll have a point.
Two thoughts along those lines:
1. When you commit to the running game, when you're not deterred and you adopt a mindset that you're going to keep slamming away at the running game until something breaks, this is what sometimes happens. Against Atlanta, it took until overtime for a run to really pop. Against Baltimore it never did happen, especially when the Steelers needed it to happen.
2. Since I've never been in the Bash-Arians-At-Any-And-All-Opportunities Camp, I'll allow myself the following second guess – a pass on first or second down wouldn't have been a bad idea. That should-have-been-game-winning, 93-yard drive that gave the Steelers a 14-10 lead with 7:14 remaining included a 19-yard hookup with Heath Miller, a 13-yard completion to Miller and a 16-yard laser to Antwaan Randle El on third-and-10 from the Baltimore 42-yard line.
I'd have liked to have seen the Steelers give Batch one chance to finish the job.
Some other post-Baltimore, postmortem mumblings:
* Much as I'd have liked to have seen Batch throw one late, he wasn't as accurate as he needed to be throughout. An overthrow to a wide-open Miller and an 0-fer in terms of repeatedly trying to get the ball deep to Mike Wallace (overthrows and an underthrow helped conspire to deny the Steelers in those instances) stand out as especially below the line.
Job One for Roethlisberger Upon His Return: Figure out a way to get the ball to Wallace deep. That's the element that can make the Steelers' offense one to be feared.
* You have to tip your cap to the Ravens. Or, as Bill Cowher might say, you have to take your hat off and give it to them.
Webb, the Ravens' nickelback, came up with an athletic, leaping defense of a deep ball Batch underthrew to Wallace, and Webb also ripped what should have been a long TD pass from Wallace's grasp in the end zone.
McClain, a starting linebacker, was versatile enough to make a sure, open-field tackle following a completion to Rashard Mendenhall and also get down the field in coverage and tipped away a pass intended for Miller.
They're not all splash plays made by splash players.
* Jeff Reed is a stand-up guy but he's standing up a little too often this season. His misses into the dreaded open end of Heinz Field from 49 and 45 yards out proved to be as critical an element of the outcome as any.
That's three huge misses – with the game-winner at Atlanta that wasn't – for Reed in two home games. And he's supposed to be the guy that's better suited to kick at Heinz than anyone because of his local knowledge.
His performance this season hasn't made much of an argument for another contract. It also has to be eroding the staff's confidence in Reed. It might even be the biggest negative associated with the Steelers' 3-1 start.
* A 3-1 record without Roethlisberger is wonderful and the Steelers will presumably have Big Ben available on Dec. 5 in Baltimore. But the Ravens will presumably have Ed Reed and Donte Stallworth back by then, as well.
Both teams will be much improved for the rematch.
* Blame Bryant McFadden if you must but Lawrence Timmons (Ray Rice), Troy Polamalu (Todd Heap) and James Harrison (double-teamed) didn't get to Joe Flacco on what turned out to be the game winning TD.
Rice vs. Timmons and Heap vs. Polamalu, the Steelers have to win at least one of those, but didn't.
Make it 17-14 Ravens on the scoreboard and 2-0 Baltimore in Backs-on-‘Backers.
That really hurts.