The view from Pittsburgh

The view from Pittsburgh
November 19, 2012, 4:15 pm
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In Pittsburgh on Monday morning, there is a sense of missed opportunity in light of the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Steelers. That seems understandable, considering the Ravens offense was stymied all night and failed to reach the end zone. But after the first minute, the same was true of the Steelers. And while the media lay some of the blame on Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich, there is some also for the special teams unit that yielded a punt return touchdown to Jacoby Jones, and to play-calling that perhaps underused running back Jonathan Dwyer.

Here is how some of the Pittsburgh media saw the game:

Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"A queasy Steelers crowd battling severe Big Ben withdrawal let its initial appraisal show even before halftime -- there were boos, and, of course, booze -- but no one was terribly giddy with the established course of events.
Perhaps everyone could have relaxed a bit had they known that Leftwich was going to play quarterback to the tune of more than 400 yards of offense this weekend. Too bad it was Mack Leftwich of North Allegheny High, torturing Seneca Valley about 48 hours before the Steelers took the field against the Baltimore Ravens.

Byron Leftwich wasn't quite so prolific, nowhere near terrific, and instead steered an offense that was closer to soporific.”

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A strong defense can overcome only so much. Quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and the other Baltimore Ravens weren't much of a problem for the Steelers defense Sunday night. But the unit couldn't make up for a lame outing by the offense and a huge special teams breakdown. Ravens 13, Steelers 10.

The defense deserved so much better."

Dejan Kovacevic , Greensburg Tribune-Review

If Byron Leftwich were a boxer, he’d have climbed through the ropes Sunday night with a scouting report that he was rusty as a wet razor, that he couldn’t connect with the right hook to save his life and that he had anvils for feet.
Then, in one magical sequence, he’d score a first-round knockdown by floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. Hey, the Steelers were dressed for the latter, right?

And then …

Well, the trouble with this bout at Heinz Field – which went to the Ravens, 13-10, by unanimous decision – is that there were still a lot of rounds to go, a lot of punches to be thrown.
And man, did Leftwich bear the brunt. …When your team’s most encouraging news following a critical loss to a detested archrival is that at least this quarterback’s rib wasn’t threatening his aorta, that’s pretty much TKO territory.

Rob Labriola, Steelers Digest

For this particular installment of Ravens-Steelers, each team arrived at Heinz Field last Sunday night with a full toolbox thanks to a combined injury list that could make up a playoff contending team of its own. …

Despite all of the marquee names relegated to spectator status last Sunday night, the primary issue – at least for the Steelers – was whether they could win a game against a quality opponent with Byron Leftwich as their starting quarterback.

The scoreboard said they could not. … The Steelers failed to deliver, and the failure was not limited to one player or one unit. The most dramatic was by a punt team that allowed Jacoby Jones to return one for a 63-yard touchdown, which would be the only time the Ravens got the ball into the end zone.

Yes, there were opportunities to negate that, and the Steelers failed to do so, but special teams disasters in a game like this usually end up happening to the team that ends up losing. …

There is nothing more helpful to a quarterback than an effective running attack, but Byron Leftwich got little help here, either from the play-calling or the execution of same. …

The Steelers defense had a fine night, and that was the case in how they dealt with all facets of the Ravens offense. Ray Rice averaged 2 yards a carry; Torrey Smith had one catch for 7 yards; the Baltimore offense finished with 200 net yards. …Clearly, the defense deserved a better fate.”

Alan Robinson, Tribune-Review
This was the biggest turnover of all for the Steelers on a night when the Baltimore Ravens were only one long return and two big mistakes better: They turned over first place to their biggest rival.
The Ravens had no offense — Joe Flacco, his receivers and Ray Rice didn’t produce a single point — but it didn’t matter. They won again in their home away from home, Heinz Field, by scoring on special teams and off two turnovers to beat the Steelers, 13-10, Sunday night, with Jacoby Jones’ 63-yard punt return score the pivotal play.  And perhaps the season-wrecking play for the Steelers."