A frustrating win: The Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 19-14, at Heinz Field on Wednesday to finish out a crazy week that had the game moved three times by the NFL. The win improved the Steelers record to 11-0 on the season, but you would never know it listening to a disappointed Coach Mike Tomlin after the game, who said the win was 'pretty frustrating.'
"To be bluntly honest, I am really disappointed in our performance tonight," said Tomlin. "We did enough to win, but that's all. It was really junior varsity to be quite honest with you. It was in all three phases. We couldn't run the ball effectively when we needed to. We dropped too many significant passes, catchable, makeable passes. We didn't make significant plays in the special teams game. Our kickoff coverage unit wasn't good enough. We turned the damn ball over. We gave up big plays in critical moments on defense. Can't have it. They converted a long run on a possession down before the half. Unacceptable. They had a 70-yard touchdown late in the game. Unacceptable.
"We're fortunate tonight. It's good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of and to be excited about other than that."
The Steelers struggled in the red zone, converting just one of four attempts. As Tomlin said, dropped passes were numerous. And they couldn't put away the Ravens with a roster that was decimated after multiple players were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
"It was bad ball by all parties involved," said Tomlin. "Coaches first, players second."
Tomlin said the change of schedule, which disrupted the Steelers practice schedule multiple times, had no impact on the performance.
"We make no excuses. We seek no comfort," said Tomlin. "We didn't play or coach well tonight."
The Steelers don't have much time to battle back with a game on Monday evening at 5 p.m. against the Washington Football Team.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel. It's not some transformational thing that needs to transpire," said Tomlin. "We've got to coach better and play better when we get inside the bowl. I expect our group to do that Monday night, Monday evening, whenever it is that we play."
A bright spot: James Washington had two receptions for 19 yards, including a 16-yarder where he wouldn't be denied in the fourth quarter to move the chains and help seal the win.
"He answers the bell when called upon," said Tomlin. "We're appreciative of that. Week to week we make plans that benefit us in terms of the matchup, and sometimes it includes him, and includes him heavily, and sometimes it doesn't."
Stepping up: Just hours before kickoff the Steelers placed center Maurkice Pouncey on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, forcing J.C. Hassenauer into service without a lot of notice and without taking many practice snaps with Ben Roethlisberger. There didn't appear to be any issues, but Tomlin said he wasn't ready to make evaluate his play yet.
"I could not give you a fair assessment of him, to be honest with you, without watching the tape," said Tomlin. "I appreciate his willingness to answer the bell and his overall general readiness in that regard. But I've got to watch the tape to give you a fair, honest assessment from that perspective."
Injury Update: One of the biggest concerns for the Steelers following the game is the health of linebacker Bud Dupree. Dupree suffered an apparent non-contact knee injury in the fourth quarter and didn't return to the game.
"Bud got hurt. He is being evaluated," said Tomlin. "I am sure we will have an update for you tomorrow."