Placekicker Chris Boswell whiffed on an onside kick in a fitting end to the Pittsburgh Steelers' 21-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, which was only made close by a couple of fourth-quarter Steelers touchdowns.
The Steelers fell behind by 21-0 in a penalty-riddled performance (13 for 99 yards). Former Steelers receiver Mike Wallace scorched his old team with a 95-yard catch-and-run reception past Artie Burns and Mike Mitchell, and the Ravens kicked two field goals and scored a second touchdown on a blocked punt early in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers cut the 21-0 deficit with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown with 8:38 remaining, and Roethlisberger ran four yards for the second score with 48 seconds left.
Boswell, in attempting to deceive the Ravens on the ensuing onside kick, faked with one foot, tried to kick with the other, and ended up hitting the ball into his own leg as it fell off the tee and the Ravens took possession.
Roethlisberger overcame a 50-yard first-half passing performance and finally found some rhythm in the fourth quarter. He finished 23 of 45 for 264 yards, with the touchdown pass to Brown and one interception. Roethlisberger had a passer rating of 67.3.
The Steelers were determined to feed Le'Veon Bell the ball but the Ravens held him to 32 yards on 14 carries.
On the other side, the Steelers run defense was one of the team's few bright spots as it held the Ravens to 50 yards on 29 carries. James Harrison also had a pair of sacks and his tomahawk strip sack in Baltimore territory late in the third quarter could have turned around a 13-0 game but the Ravens recovered the fumble.
Here's what Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin had to say after the game:
"... we were a highly penalized group that created some third-down situations that were insurmountable and it made the going tougher for us because of that. We had some very make-able plays, but had dropped balls and such. We can't be that type of team. The margin of error is too thin to slice it in that manner. That's why we're sitting here having this conversation talking about running out of time in that football game. We are where we are. We're a 4-4 team. We accept responsibility for that but we also recognize that we're still tied for the division lead and there's optimism associated with that. But the things that are tripping us up of late have to stop. We'll come in tomorrow and look at it and proceed.
"But largely, like I said, not enough execution, not enough detail, some self-inflicted wounds, we ran out of time."
Come in wanting to run the football?
"I did but obviously that did not transpire. They had a lot to do with that. You've got to give those guys credit, but we're capable of more than we displayed in that area."
Why did it take so long to open up the offense?
"We just weren't interested in getting one-dimensional. We felt that we still had time. Obviously the climate changed once the punt got blocked. Prior to that we felt comfortable in terms of our ability to get it going because we were stopping them. Minus the big play we gave up to Wallace, we were playing good enough defense that we felt we didn't have to get one-dimensional from a personality standpoint. The blocked punt changed those things."
How were they stopping you?
"They were doing what they do."
Consider putting Landry Jones in?
"I did not."
Did Ben look tentative early on?
"I'll let him talk about things relative to his play in that regard. He was healthy enough to play, he was willing to play. We made the decision. We won't second guess. We won't look back at all. I appreciate his efforts and his display of will."
The penalties were on all phases. What accounted for that?
"I've got to look at the tape, but we were highly penalized. Some of them I had questions about. The roughing-the-punter, I didn't feel good about. That's life. When you're not doing things well, it makes the judgment of those type calls more significant. When you're doing the things you're supposed to do, you find ways to let those calls roll off your back. So I'm not seeking comfort. We've got to play better."
(For SCI publisher Jim Wexell's thoughts on the game, go to the South Side message board.)