PITTSBURGH – You won’t see any Josh Scobee jerseys around Heinz Field anytime soon - though they might have a bunch hitting the bargain racks, cheap.
In fact, you might not see any in Heinz Field much longer this season, either, following the Steelers’ 23-20 overtime loss Thursday night to the Baltimore Ravens.
Scobee, whom the Steelers sent a sixth-round pick to Jacksonville to acquire following season-ending injuries to Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley in August, missed field goal attempts of 41 and 49 yards in the fourth quarter, leaving the door open for the Ravens to salvage their season – at least for a few weeks.
Scobee, a 12-year-veteran, has been through all of this before. He’s missed kicks in his career. But having played in Jacksonville his entire career before coming to Pittsburgh, he hadn’t missed many that hurt like these ones.
“Not like this,” Scobee said. “This is not what I envisioned when I got traded here. This wasn’t what I wanted to happen. I expect better from myself and I expect to contribute and not be one of the reasons we lost a game. It’s tough. Fortunately, I’ve been through tough things and it makes you better in the long run.”
The long run might not come here. While the team had other opportunities to win the game, missed field goals have a tendency to stand out to the head coach.
Mike Tomlin admitted the team might take the time between now and when the Steelers take the field again Oct. 12 at San Diego to work in a tryout or two for a new kicker.
“We have to turn the stones over,” said Tomlin. “We have to find ways to win games. Obviously, that’s an element of it. It was an element of the outcome tonight.”
It wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence for Scobee. Neither was Tomlin passing on a 50-yard field goal attempt in overtime that would have won the game.
“I understand the reason not to do that,” said Scobee of passing on the 50-yarder. “It was longer than the other ones were. No hard feelings on my part. It just stinks that I couldn’t convert the other ones.”
* The Steelers had been solid against the run thus far this season, but were gouged for 191 yards on 39 carries by the Ravens. Justin Forsett, who entered the game with 124 yards on 39 carries, a 3.2 yards per attempt average, had 150 of those yards on 27 carries, much to the chagrin of Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
“(The) offense did plenty,” said Harrison. “Hell, we gave up too many points. They ran the ball up and down the field. Forsett, he had a day. We didn’t get the job done, period.”
Especially troubling was the fact that after the Steelers went up 20-7 early in the third quarter, Forsett broke off a 33-yard run and Javorius Allen had a 12-yard run to help set up a 15-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco to Kamar Aiken.
“When we get up and then we give up a score like that, now they can play regular football, running and passing and we’ve got to play more honest,” said linebacker Arthur Moats. “When we get a lead like that on defense, we have to make sure we keep it. We can’t let them close the gap.”
* Vick didn’t make any huge mistakes in this game – though he and Brown were obviously just not clicking – but he didn’t do anything to win it, either.
And that’s what the Steelers will be missing without Ben Roethlisberger over the next month or so.
They have to play nearly flawless in all other phases to win. And they didn’t do that Thursday night.
It wasn’t just the kicks or the run defense – though both were shaky. Punter Jordan Berry had an off night and there were too many penalties – including a false start by David DeCastro on the second play from scrimmage – that just didn’t add up to a winning effort.
“We left a lot of chances out there. It wasn’t just one,” DeCastro said. “We had plenty of chances to put it away and we didn’t do it.”
* Brown was obviously upset that he didn’t get the ball more and saw his consecutive games streak with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards end at an NFL-record 35 games.
But he did have some chances. He dropped what would have been a touchdown catch in the end zone in the second quarter on a ball he typically catches and just missed getting his toes in bounds on another throw in the third quarter.
But he and Vick obviously were not on the same page throughout this game.
And when Vick is trying to throw the ball to Sammie Coates on third-and-5 from the Baltimore 31 with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, I’m sorry, but there’s just something that doesn’t compute.
* Martavis Bryant’s return for the San Diego game will make a difference for the Steelers. So will a full week of practice for Vick.
Maybe he can get on the same page with Brown. The Steelers had better hope that’s the case.
At the very least, Bryant’s return will give the threat of the Steelers being able to go deep. And perhaps that will take some of the double teams away from Brown. Vick just isn’t going to throw into those with any kind of confidence the way Roethlisberger does.
* Keith Butler’s blitz packages had Flacco rattled throughout the night. And Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward are wrecking balls as pass rushers.
But you do have to wonder how much the theory of allowing the ends to get upfield and after the passer is affecting the Steelers run defense – at least in this game.
Lawrence Timmons said that the Ravens were able to get some blockers to the second level, something that used to be a no-no in Dick Le’Beau’s defense.
“They did a good job on the right side of the line,” Timmons said. “They’ve got a guy named (Marshall) Yanda doing a great job blocking. They got a lot of guys to the second level and made plays and got (Forsett) into the open field.”