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2 Winners and Tons of Losers after the Steelers’ 24-21 loss to the Raiders

Behind the Steel Curtain - 4 hours 49 min ago

After a game, we take note of certain players who performed well and others who didn’t. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders took part in a big game in Week 14, and the Steelers presented their loyal fan base with another road loss to a horrible team.

During the game, some perform well, while others fall short of the standard. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in. After the game, when the dust settles, we decipher who falls into which category.

This was such a strange game all around, the article is hardly as robust as it usually is, mainly because I found it difficult to pinpoint players who stood out as playing well and those who played poorly.

As always, feel free to comment on the list in the comment section below. Be part of the conversation!

Winners

JuJu Smith-Schuster
Stat Line: 8 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TDs, 12 targets

Another wonderful performance by JuJu Smith-Schuster spoiled by a lousy outcome. At this point, who cares if he or Antonio Brown is considered the No. 1 — if the team isn’t winning it doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, Smith-Schuster has proven his rookie season was no fluke, and he is on the edge of super stardom in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger
Stat Line: 25/29, 282 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 130.2 rating

Some might be shocked to see Roethlisberger in this category, but he didn’t lose the game, and if the head coach would have inserted him into the lineup sooner he most likely would have won them the game. Roethlisberger threw just 4 incomplete passes and looked as if he couldn’t be stopped when the game was on the line. A nice step in the right direction for No. 7.

Losers

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 0/2 FGs, 3/3 XP

I am at a loss for a lot of aspects of this team after their current three game skid, but Boswell tops the list. I just can’t comprehend how a kicker goes from being so automatic, to downright awful in one offseason. Missing both field goals, and having an extra point bank in off the right upright is about as ugly as it gets. Wouldn’t be shocked if the Steelers at the $4.5 million and cut ties with Boswell.

Morgan Burnett
Stat Line: Awful pass defense

I hate to pinpoint just one person in the secondary, but Morgan Burnett hasn’t been anything close to what he was advertised coming in this season. Well, I take that back...he has been often injured and that was a cut on him when Green Bay allowed him to test free agent waters. Burnett got burnt by anyone running his direction, and his swing-and-miss on the deep pass from Derek Carr on their go-ahead score just highlighted how inept Burnett has been this season.

Mike Tomlin/Coaching Staff
Stat Line: Not sure hot to describe what we all saw

Fans want the entire coaching staff gutted. That won’t happen, but this stretch of games certainly has an “unleash hell in December” type of feel to it, doesn’t it? Tomlin learned from that situation and doesn’t make such bold statements anymore, but this ranks near the top of the list.

Oh, and Tomlin’s explanation for Josh Dobbs staying in the game because the team was in a good ‘flow’. Yeah...about that:

Roethlisberger's 6 drives in OAK:
Punt (3rd down drop)
TD
Missed FG
TD
TD
Missed FG

Dobbs' 4 drives:
Punt
Downs (failed completion)
INT
Punt

— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) December 10, 2018

Throw in the defensive failures and this team is a disaster from top to bottom.

Defensive Backs’ Ball Skills
Stat Line: Group reaching new lows in this department

I’ve never seen a group of individuals fail to just put their hands on the football. Forget catching it, just getting in the way of the football. Joe Haden, Morgan Burnett, Terrell Edmunds, Sean Davis and Mike Hilton all had their hands on or near the football and all failed to make the appropriate play. When you are talking about defensive turnovers, you have to be able to take advantage of your opportunities...the Steelers haven’t done that at all this season.

Joshua Dobbs
Stat Line: 4/9, 24 yards, O TD, 1 INT

Remember the Baltimore game when Dobbs came in and threw a first down dart to Smith-Schuster? Everyone thought the future was bright for the young man. Those were the days, right? Dobbs didn’t look comfortable at all on Sunday, and further proved this team is in for some transition seasons after Roethlisberger decides to call it a career.

Steelers Defense
Stat Line: Allowed 2 fourth down conversions, and 3/4 in red-zone trips for OAK

The Steelers’ defense wasn’t awful yesterday for the entire game, but when they needed them the most, they failed. Fourth downs and the red-zone were just atrocious, and it goes from scheme on down to the play of the players. Keith Butler should take a lot of heat, and blame, for the loss, but the players shouldn’t be let off the hook either.

Report: Ben Roethlisberger expects he will be able to play against the Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - 6 hours 1 min ago

Big Ben told reporters he was ‘Ok’ after leaving the game against the Oakland Raiders with a rib injury.

Despite being forced to sit out all but the final five minutes of the second half against the Oakland Raiders because of a rib injury suffered when he was sacked, Ben Roethlisberger appeared surprisingly confident he would be able to play next Sunday when talking to reporters after the game.

Set to face the New England Patriots in a crucial matchup at Heinz Field in Week 15, Big Ben seemed less concerned about the severity of his injury than you would expect for a player only put back into the game in the dying moments because the Steelers were losing. However, when asked about the details of his injury, he deferred those questions to his head coach, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

”You’re asking how I feel during a football game where I’m getting beat up. So, I felt OK.”

But not so beat up he will not be able to play in Week 15.

Ben Roethlisberger said he assumes he’ll be good to go for the Patriots game. He was ready to play as soon as Mike Tomlin gave him the go. Tomlin said Roethlisberger probably could have gone in a few series earlier but flow of the game prevented that.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 10, 2018

Ben Roethlisberger said he expects to play next Sunday vs. Patriots, despite his rib injury.

X-rays on Lamar Jackson’s ankle were negative and he expects to play next Sunday vs. Bucs.

Ryan Tannehill was limping postgame with right ankle injury.

Jordan Reed sprained his foot.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 10, 2018

Mike Tomlin had little information to share about the severity of Roethlisberger's injury when speaking to the media during his post-game press conference.

“Ben had a rib injury, he was able to come back into the game. Nothing else to specifically mention. I’ll update you a little later in the week obviously.”

Even if he did acknowledge that his quarterback could have come back into the game earlier than he did.

With James Conner a question mark for Week 15 already, Pittsburgh will be in dire straits against the Patriots if Big Ben cannot play. A game that looked to be a mammoth task even before the season began would be a nightmare matchup without Roethlisberger under center.

Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 24-21 loss to the Raiders in Week 14

Behind the Steel Curtain - 7 hours 2 min ago

BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after their head-scratching loss in Oaktown.

The Steelers were attempting to get back on track against a 2-10 opponent on the road and it’s time to see if they made the grade or if a letter is going home to their parents, Spoiler alert...they didn’t and one will.

Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All week, I found myself noticing just how equal the two teams actually are and that shows in their respective records. And then I realized that these teams both usually battle fiercely in tight contests. Then the game happened and judgments followed.

Grading games is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what count the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well.

So let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

Offense: C-

Ben Roethlisberger was 25/29 with 2 TDs and it doesn’t matter that his stat line was prettier than his actual play on the field, because he was great when he came back in late in the game. Why Josh Dobbs (a pitiful 4/9 for 24 yards and an interception) stayed in so long even after Ben was medically cleared is a mystery that can’t be answered with the ridiculousness of Mike Tomlin’s explanation, “We were in the flow of the game”.

Ben couldn’t account for the paltry running game either. James Conner’s absence was glaring. Stevan Ridley had four yards on five carries, while rookie Jaylen Samuels was a little better with 92 total yards (28 yards on 11 carries and 64 yards receiving), but not much. The offensive line was pretty good pass blocking, but couldn’t open holes against a team ranked 22nd in run defense.

AB had only five catches on seven targets. He should have been called upon more. The best performance on offense was put in by JuJu Smith-Schuster. No. 19 had eight catches for 130 yards and 2 scores.

Defense: F

The defensive line continues to play well with Cam Heyward, Javon Hargrave and Stephon Tuitt put pressure on Derek Carr and engulfed ball carriers. TJ Watt and Bud Dupree were very good as well. Then there was the inside linebackers and the secondary. Simply put...Horrendous. They were dominated by TEs that went for 108 yards against them. When you continue to blow leads, it’s a problem that isn’t being addressed properly. This team folds when it needs a big stop.

Special Teams: D-

Not special at all. Berry had a decent first punt, but was poor after that. They weren’t getting penalized, that’s good. But Boswell cost the team another game. That’s unacceptable.

Overall Grade: F

While a lot of suspects could be pointed ar for losing to a 2-10 team, Mike Tomlin gets the lion’s share of the blame. Call timeouts and play your franchise quarterback. It’s that simple. This was a huge opportunity lost and it isn’t acceptable.

Mike Tomlin’s coaching on Sunday was a fireable offense

Behind the Steel Curtain - 8 hours 23 sec ago

Mike Tomlin’s coaching performance was a disaster.

I really have tried to stay off the fire Tomlin train. It’s tough to not be on it now, though. The Steelers lost on Sunday not because of the players, but because of three people: Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler, and Chris Boswell.

First off, Boswell should be cut. I don’t care what he has done in the past, he has struggled this season to the point where he has cost the Steelers games. If he is on his game today, the Steelers are walking out with the ‘W’. He slipped because he extended his plant too far, which caused his balance to go off kilter. So, should he have stayed upright, that ball was heading far left. Time to cut your losses with Boswell.

Second, Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin have been running one of the worst schemes in football since Butler took over as Defensive Coordinator. It is time for Butler to get the axe for his incompetence, and he should have been shown the door with Todd Haley anyways. It is time to overhaul this scheme, and more importantly, time to actually let this defense’s talent show through. This defense has more than enough talent, but schematically, they simply suck.

However, let’s talk about Mike Tomlin. Tomlin’s teams for years have been criticized for losing and playing down to inferior teams, and before today we never really knew if that was a byproduct of Tomlin himself, but it is clear it is now.

Tomlin noted that Ben Roethlisberger could have come back into the game far before he actually did, and that he didn’t because it didn’t fit the “flow of the game”. My folks, that is a straight up fireable offense. I am sorry to all Steelers fans, because Mike Tomlin cost us the game by not letting the franchise QB come back in when he could have.

Mike Tomlin came across as cowardly and timid today in his press conference, likely because he knew he screwed up. Tomlin clearly pins this one on himself, point blank. That is what I got from the press conference, and I saw that his mindset is that the Steelers can beat any bad team due to having top tier talent. Thus, that mindset has permeated itself throughout the locker room it seems.

Tomlin’s decision to stick with the currently incompetent Dobbs when Ben came back in and drove the field easily is a terrible decision, and just as bad was his clock management. It seemed that he trusted his defense, but if he had used his timeouts, the Steelers could have had near a minute to go and more time to score the winning TD. And I have to tell you, I think Ben would have done it.

Regardless, this was a brutal coaching performance by the whole coaching staff. Mike Tomlin has a big shot to redeem himself. Beat the Patriots and do what you could never do. If you do that, I will gain some faith in you, because, Coach Tomlin, right now, there is no faith in this team, or you, whatsoever.

And, bluntly, that is a shame.

Chris Boswell has no answers on, and off, the field for poor performances

Behind the Steel Curtain - 9 hours 11 min ago

Chris Boswell was the recipient of a brand new contract before the 2018 season, and this year has been memorable for all the wrong reason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders participated in one of the uglier NFL contests of the season, but nothing was uglier than Chris Boswell’s performance.

Boswell finished the game 3/3 on extra points, although one bounced in off the right upright, and 0/2 on field goals. If missing two kicks on the day wasn’t bad enough, the team lost by three points, and with a chance to send the team to overtime Boswell slipped and had his kick blocked to end the game.

The season for Boswell has gone from bad, to worse, and now fans want answers. The problem is — Boswell doesn’t have any answers.

This is what Boswell had to say after the game in Week 14:

An absolutely delighted Chris Boswell: #DKPS #Steelers pic.twitter.com/gUDYIVAFse

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) December 10, 2018

The general consensus surrounding the Steelers is they should just part ways with the kicker, but this isn’t a simple decision. Cutting Boswell, after giving him a hefty contract prior to the 2018 regular season, would have salary cap implications next year.

This per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Steelers signed Chris Bowell to a four-year, $16.8 million contract this summer. If they cut him tomorrow he will count $4.8 million against the cap in 2019, according to spotrac.

— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) December 10, 2018

While the Steelers will have a larger than usual amount of salary cap space next year, thanks to Le’Veon Bell not playing, the last thing they want to do is have over $4 million of that tied up in paying a kicker who isn’t currently employed by the team.

The truly troubling situation with Boswell isn’t the dead money cap hit, or the fact he is missing some kicks, but how he seems as if he is searching for answers why. If he were able to say there is an alignment issue, or a follow-through problem, it would at least shine the light on the fact he realizes the issue and what needs to be rectified to get it straightened out.

To his credit, he didn’t blame the turf, but considers to look more like a golfer with the ‘yips’, than a Pro Bowl kicker. The next 48 hours for Boswell will be huge when it comes to his future with the Steelers.

Podcast: Steelers experience inexcusable loss to Oakland — again

Behind the Steel Curtain - 10 hours 29 min ago

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Post-Game” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-gold from the game that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in the home stretch of their 2018 season. With a surge of Steelers news, it’s time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Post-Game Show. On this show Jeff Hartman and co-host Lance Williams break down all things Steelers from the game that was!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Injuries
  • What is up with the turnovers this season?
  • What does this tell us about the Steelers?
  • Talking what’s ahead
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: The Steelers potentially missing the postseason is not an overreaction

Behind the Steel Curtain - 11 hours 18 min ago

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have seen better days than they are currently experiencing. The black-and-gold have dropped three straight games, after losing to the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders in consecutive weeks. Now they turn their attention to another AFC opponent, the New England Patriots, in Week 15.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article, we take a look at how the thought of the Steelers not just missing out on an AFC North crown, but even a playoff berth, isn’t out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it might be more of a reality after their latest loss.

Let’s get to the news:

Week 14 overreactions: Has Tom Brady won his last Super Bowl?

By: Dan Graziano, ESPN

I mean ... did you SEE the final play of the Dolphins-Patriots game?

If you didn’t, please, go watch it. I’ll wait right here.

Greatest play ever, AMIRITE??

OK, so maybe that’s a little bit much. Tough to rank it with plays like the Music City Miracle and the Minneapolis Miracle, which won playoff games. Or even plays like the David Tyree helmet catch, which helped keep alive an all-time Super Bowl upset. Context matters, and this Week 14 regular-season magic trick didn’t crush the Patriots’ hopes or ensure the Dolphins of anything.

It was just amazing, is all. How often do you see the multi-lateral end-of-game desperation play work? Ever? All that was missing was a commentator yelling, “The band is out on the field!!!”

Besides, it’s OVERREACTION MONDAY, after all, so why not open up by wondering if that play was the greatest of all time. It probably wasn’t, but it had the kind of epic feel we look for in this weekly breathless exercise. And it leads nicely into our first reaction of the week:

The Steelers will miss the playoffs

Pittsburgh lost to the Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders. The team that’s spent the past eight months looking as if it wanted to get rid of enough players so it wouldn’t even have 11 to start on game day. Pittsburgh has lost three games in a row now and is playing without James Conner, who was helping them forget about Le’Veon Bell. They hold a one-half game lead over Baltimore in the AFC North, and there are three teams that have the same record as Baltimore and are out for a wild-card berth. Pittsburgh’s final three games are at home to the Patriots, in New Orleans and at home to rival Cincinnati. And did I mention they just lost to the Raiders? The Raiders!?

Graziano’s verdict: . If the Steelers lose their next two very losable games, they would be 7-7-1 and could need a Week 17 victory over Cincinnati to even have a chance of getting in. Remember the Bengals knocking the Ravens out of the postseason in Week 17 last year? Think they wouldn’t just LOVE doing that to the Steelers? Pittsburgh has to come up with a way of beating the Patriots and/or the Saints if it wants to avoid an embarrassing collapse.

Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Steelers defense crumbles again

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Steelers had a perfect opportunity to position themselves for the AFC playoffs, as the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens all lost Sunday afternoon.

The Steelers knew beforehand that they would have to beat the Oakland Raiders without James Conner, a test for their running game. The surprise came when they had to start the second half without Ben Roethlisberger, who injured his ribs late in the first half.

Big Ben would rally the Steelers to another fourth-quarter comeback.

But the outcome would depend on the defense.

And the Steelers came up short.

1. Nowhere to run: Other than handing off to Jaylen Samuels on first down on their first two possessions, the Steelers did little to establish the run game.

Samuels got his first NFL start and had six carries for 11 yards in the first half – an average of 1.8 yards per – and added four receptions for 22 yards. The Steelers had 10 rushes for 6 yards, an average of 0.6 yards per carry.

They were bailed out by the Raiders, who had three facemask penalties for 45 yards. Two came on the same second-quarter drive: Samuels was pulled down on a run by linebacker Tahir Whitehead and on a pass by defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

But the Steelers failed to take advantage, as Roethlisberger was sacked by Clinton McDonald for a 7-yard loss and Chris Boswell missed a 39-yard field goal wide right.

2. Toe-tap JuJu: The Steelers have seen their share of toe-tap catches, from Santonio Holmes to Antonio Brown.

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s touchdown in the back of the end zone just before halftime has to rank among the best.

Roethlisberger nearly had a pass picked off in the end zone, as his throw to Smith-Schuster was broken up by safety Karl Joseph. On the next play, Roethlisberger found Vance McDonald for a 10-yard gain to the Raiders’ 2. But Samuels ran for no gain, and a short pass to Ryan Switzer left the Steelers a yard short of the goal line.

On third-and-goal at the 1, Roethlisberger threw a high pass in the back of the end zone. Smith-Schuster leapt high, tipped the ball to himself and touched both toes down.

The play was initially ruled incomplete, but reversed after a video review for a touchdown that gave the Steelers a 14-10 halftime lead.

It wasn’t picture-perfect but it was pretty.

(For the rest of the takes, click the link in the headline above...)

Steelers falter late, again fall to Raiders in Oakland

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

On a day when the Pittsburgh Steelers got help in other stadiums around the country, they couldn’t get a favorable outcome in the one that mattered the most.

Derek Carr stole the late heroics from an injured Ben Roethlisberger by leading the Oakland Raiders to a 24-21 victory at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that handed the Steelers their third consecutive defeat.

Carr threw a 6-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining, and the Steelers missed a chance to force overtime when Chris Boswell slipped on a 40-yard field-goal attempt, and his kick was blocked at the buzzer. It was his second miss of the day.

In the past three games, the Steelers had their fate sealed in the waning moments: an interception in the end zone at Denver, a last-second field goal by the Los Angeles Chargers and the comeback Sunday that gave the Raiders their third win in 13 tries this season.

The three losses for the 7-5-1 Steelers have been decided by seven, three and three points — each defeat more deflating than the one prior.

“We’ll see what this team is made of, you know,” guard David DeCastro said. “We really will.”

When the Steelers took the field, they had a chance to catch several of the conference’s higher-seeded teams and also put some distance between themselves and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. In addition to the Ravens, the New England Patriots and Houston Texans lost Sunday.

Instead, the Steelers remain perched in the No. 4 seed and maintain just a one-half game edge over the Ravens (7-6).

“Frustration is definitely setting in. You can see it,” DeCastro said. “You put a lot of energy into the sport and a lot of work into it. Losing games like this … it’s tough, man. There is still a lot ahead of us.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Steelers, who play the 9-4 Patriots on Sunday at Heinz Field before traveling to New Orleans to face the 11-2 Saints.

“We all need to look in the mirror and figure out what is going on,” said Roethlisberger, who returned from a rib injury in the fourth quarter to give the Steelers a 21-17 lead with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left on a 1-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. “It starts with each individual. We have to look inside first.”

Mike Tomlin acknowledges Ben Roethlisberger was medically cleared to re-enter the game sooner

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 7:35pm

The Steelers coach confirmed with reporters after the game that Big Ben had actually been medical cleared to play when he first returned to the sidelines.

When Ben Roethlisberger did not emerge from the locker room at the start of the second half, there was a sense of foreboding for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that had not won in Oakland since 1995. While Big Ben was inside receiving attention from the medical staff for a rib injury, Josh Dobbs would lead the team on two five play drives that covered 19 yards and 21 yards respectively, the second ending in a turnover on downs at the Raiders 42-yard line.

Seen walking back towards the sidelines carrying his helmet with 8.45 on the clock in the third quarter, just as Dobbs had completed the first play of his second drive of the game, Roethlisberger had the look of a man who could be coming back into the game any moment.

Except he didn’t, not until Dobbs had played in two more series, the first of which ended with an interception after another five plays. When Big Ben eventually did re-enter the game with 5.20 left in the fourth quarter, he would show no signs of injury as he took the Steelers on a six play, 70-yard, touchdown drive.

However, with an admission that makes you question the sanity of the decision, Mike Tomlin revealed to reporters after the game that his future Hall of Fame quarterback could actually have come back into the game much sooner. Acknowledging that he had been medically cleared to play when he had first returned to the sidelines earlier in the third quarter, the explanation for still opting to hold him out was strange to say the least.

“He got looked at at halftime, he got treatment, he came back out. We were waiting to see if he was going to able to come back in, he was. Probably could have come in a series or so sooner, but we were in the rhythm and flow of the game. He was ready to go when he got back out there.

He was medically cleared when he got back out there. Obviously, he wasn’t back out there at the start of the third quarter.”

Coach Tomlin addresses the media following today’s game vs. the Raiders in the @IronCityBeer Postgame Press Conference. https://t.co/ct89tctrke

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2018

Given the fact that Dobbs was clearly struggling, it makes little sense to know that Big Ben could have back in to the game sooner, but was instead left standing on the sidelines watching his back up throw a pick. Pittsburgh had no rhythm from the second Dobbs entered the contest, not that they had much in the first half either.

It is difficult to understand how reinserting your starting quarterback at the start of a new drive can disrupt the flow of an offense, but apparently this is something that concerned the Steelers’ coaching staff more than seeing the back up throw an interception.

OK, @Jacob_Klinger_ reports Ben Roethlisberger was asked “What did you have to do to get yourself back in the game?”
His response: “I was just waiting for coach to tell me when to go.”

So 1) Tomlin didn’t tell him to 2) Tomlin’s call 3) We don’t know 4) I guess not?

— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 10, 2018

Knee-jerk reactions to the #Steelers’ horrendous loss vs. the Raiders

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 6:47pm

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers’ 33-30 defeat at home.

The loss to the Los Angeles Chargers could have killed the Steelers last week. This week, they desperately need to rebound in a venue that they haven’t played well for a while. With Baltimore, New England and Houston all going down, the Steelers really need to step up and improve there place in the AFC playoff race.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation. Here’s my real-time reactions during the Steelers’ most recent battle.

Quarter 1
  • The Raiders are all fired up.
  • Everybody stops Doug Martin. The Steelers can’t.
  • I was afraid of Jared Cook coming into this game. And he’s going off.
  • Steelers are much better on defense with Tuitt in the game.
  • Javon Hargrave is becoming a jewel for this team.
  • Good. Switzer isn’t hurt. Just needs new cleats.
  • A James Washington sighting. He needs to break out.
  • Samuels could have 20 catches in this game. I think that the pass may be better for him than handoffs.
  • This is a nice drive.
  • AB with the nice first down.
  • Figured Ridley would get the short carries. Nice TD.
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images Quarter 2
  • A James Washington sighting. He needs to break out.
  • Samuels could have 20 catches in this game. I think that the pass may be better for him than handoffs.
  • This is a nice drive.
  • AB with the nice first down.
  • This field is terrible. Hilton could have had a pick-six.
  • They miss Conner.
  • Ben just got crunched. I thought the ball popped out.
  • Dammit Boswell. Unacceptable.
  • Love Hilton on the corner blitz.
  • Watt with a good bat.
  • Great defensive stand.
  • Where’s the facemask?
  • Thank you.
  • Good turn around by JuJu. They need a TD here.
  • Switzer blocking for the Vanimal. Nice all the way around.
  • Ben was real lucky. Could’ve been intercepted in the end zone again.
  • McDonald. I’m lovin’ it.
  • Switzer worked like hell to get in.
  • Great catch by JuJu. Bad pass though.
  • They need to overturn that.
  • Official was looking at JuJu’s hands not his feet.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Quarter 3
  • Don’t love that penalty. I’ll take it though.
  • Good running by Samuels.
  • Don’t like that run by Jaylen there.
  • That hold was a makeup call.
  • JuJu wide open. Dobbs missed him.
  • That was almost a disaster on that punt.
  • Should have been called, Berry had his kicking leg hit.
  • Great sack. They’ll half that between Bud and Cam.
  • JuJu got a gift on that one.
  • Not even close. Sniffed that out in a hurry.
  • This could be dangerous here.
  • Cook swatted Edmunds away there.
  • Watt...nice. Alualu clogged up lanes as well.
  • That wasn’t a catch. Hit the ground.
  • Definitely a turnover. Good awareness by Hilton.
  • Dean Blandino. Name kinda fits.
  • That ability of Dobbs to takeoff is huge.
  • I think that’s a fumble. But it might not be enough of one to overturn.
  • They got their turnover.
  • Did those Raiders just try to kiss?
  • Without Ben, this may be tough.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Quarter 4
  • Bud is looking better and better every week.
  • Big third down.
  • Davis....catch that!
  • Raiders are less disciplined than the Steelers.
  • JuJu could have caught that.
  • Good Gravy. Defense is fading.
  • Richard was down.
  • Got to hold them to a field goal.
  • Huge drop.
  • Big stop by Tuitt.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
  • Of course, A guy that never scores....scores. Bud missed him.
  • Ben needs to get back on the field.
  • Steelers are losing, but at least Ray Liotta quit smoking.
  • Ben’s the ultimate Old West hero.
  • Jaylen Samuels is a nice receiving back.
  • C’ mon Ben. JuJu was wide open.
  • Thats what Jaylen does.
  • That should have been picked. I’ll take it. But...really Ben?
  • C’mon D.
  • Giving Carr too much room.
  • Let them score.
  • Love That blitz by Hilton.
  • Great stop by Burnett.
  • You’ve got to be kidding me?
  • Back out on the ledge.
  • Beautiful.
  • Boswell. Sack up.
  • What in the blue hell just happened?

Raiders stun hapless Steelers 24-21 in Oakland

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 6:32pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers simply cannot shake this losing funk, as they lose to the Raiders 24-21 in Week 14.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 14 reeling. After back-to-back losses to the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, their playoff, and division, standings were hanging in the balance. On paper, it seemed as if the 2-10 Oakland Raiders would be the perfect medicine for what ails the Steelers.

However, the game isn’t played on paper.

After winning the coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the start of the second half, giving Jon Gruden’s group first possession to start the game. It didn’t take long for Derek Carr to move the team down the field, and this was due to tight end Jared Cook. The Raiders ran on first down, and then two passes to Cook moved Oakland into the red-zone. A few Doug Martin goal line carries equated in the Raiders touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

The Steelers’ first possession saw them already trailing 7-0, and were able to must just one first down before punting the ball back to Oakland. The Raiders’ first punt of the game set up Pittsburgh at the 33-yard line for their second possession. Ben Roethlisberger was able to connect with multiple threats on third down to move the offense to the two-yard line in the early portion of the second quarter. The next play saw Stevan Ridley dive into the endzone for the touchdown. Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, tying the game at 7-7.

Oakland’s next possession continued to emphasize none other than Jared Cook, but he wasn’t beating linebackers, but safety Morgan Burnett this time. Cook’s impressive day continued, but the Raiders were forced to settle for a Daniel Carlson field goal, making the score 10-7.

With 8:04 left in the half, Pittsburgh was given 30 yards as a gift in the form of two 15-yard facemask penalties, but when they got to the red-zone were forced to settle for a Chris Boswell field goal attempt. The kick wasn’t even close, and sailed wide right, keeping the score 10-7 with 4:29 left in the second quarter.

A defensive stop gave the Steelers the football back with 2:54 left in the half, and Roethlisberger moved the ball with ease, often to Vance McDonald, into the red-zone. Facing a 3rd and goal situation from the one yard line, Roethlisberger’s pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster looked like it was too high, but upon review it showed the second year stud got two feet down with possession.

TOE TAP
OF
THE
YEAR @TeamJuJu x #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/Tl07it8ZZs

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 9, 2018

Boswell banked in the point-after off the right upright to give the Steelers their first lead of the game, 14-10 heading into halftime.

The Steelers received the football to start the second half, and it wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger under center for the black-and-gold, but Joshua Dobbs. The team’s franchise quarterback was being treated in the locker room for and apparent rib injury, and Dobbs was unable to lead the team to points on his first drive.

After the Steelers had a failed fourth down conversion, Carr went back to work and moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory with ease; however, once the Raiders hit the red-zone the Oakland’s drive ended with a Derek Carr fumble, which was recovered by Mike Hilton. Just when the Pittsburgh faithful thought they had caught a huge break, Dobbs had back-to-back questionable calls which could have been turnovers. The first was ruled an incompletion, while the next pass was bobbled by Antonio Brown and intercepted. But Oakland was unable to put up points off of the turnover, instead punting the ball back to the Steelers with 14:40 left in the fourth quarter.

After a series of punts, Oakland was the next to strike as Derek Carr orchestrated an impressive drive capped off by a goal line pass to Lee Smith to give the Raiders a 17-14 lead with 5:20 left in regulation.

With the team trailing for the first time since the first quarter, Ben Roethlisberger re-entered the game in hopes of winning the game for the Steelers. What fans witnessed was some Roethlisberger magic as No. 7 completed every pass thrown as the team drove down the field and cap it off with Smith-Schuster’s second touchdown of the game.

.@TeamJuJu puts us back on top. pic.twitter.com/qV4WWGBRai

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2018

Boswell’s point-after made the score 21-17 with 2:55 left in the game.

Oakland wasn’t about to lay down and die, and Carr moved the offense down the field and threw a touchdown to Derek Carrier with 25 seconds remaining in the game. After the point-after, the Raiders led 24-21.

With one timeout, the Steelers needed a field goal to send the game to overtime, and a hook and ladder play to JuJu Smith-Schuster got the team in field goal position. Chris Boswell slipped on the 40-yard try, giving the Raiders the win.

The Steelers’ loss moves their record to 7-5-1, their third straight loss, as they now prepare for the New England Patriots to come to Heinz Field for a huge Week 15 matchup. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black-and-gold.

Steelers vs. Raiders, Week 14: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 5:41pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

The Steelers received the football to start the second half, and it wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger under center for the black-and-gold, but Joshua Dobbs. The team’s franchise quarterback was being treated in the locker room for and apparent rib injury, and Dobbs was unable to lead the team to points on his first drive.

After the Steelers had a failed fourth down conversion, Carr went back to work and moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory with ease; however, once the Raiders hit the red-zone the Oakland’s drive ended with a Derek Carr fumble, which was recovered by Mike Hilton.

After the Steelers had a failed fourth down conversion, Carr went back to work and moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory with ease; however, once the Raiders hit the red-zone the Oakland’s drive ended with a Derek Carr fumble, which was recovered by Mike Hilton. Just when the Pittsburgh faithful thought they had caught a huge break, Dobbs had back-to-back questionable calls which could have been turnovers. The first was ruled an incompletion, while the next pass was bobbled by Antonio Brown and intercepted.

Ben Roethlisberger Injury: Josh Dobbs starts the second half as Big Ben deals with a rib injury

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 5:17pm

With Big Ben suffering from an apparent rib injury, Josh Dobbs opened the second half at quarterback.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers returned from the halftime break against the Oakland Raiders, there was no sign of Ben Roethlisberger under center on the opening drive of the second half. According to a release by the team, he is now questionable to return with a rib injury.

#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger sustained a rib injury and is being evaluated in the locker room. He is questionable to return to today’s game.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) December 9, 2018

It appeared he suffered the injury when he was sacked on the drive that ended with a missed field goal. However, he was able to play the remainder of the second quarter, throwing a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the final seconds of the half.

With Pittsburgh leading 14-10 midway through the third quarter, Ben Roethlisberger was seen jogging back onto the sidelines to rejoin his teammates, but had not returned to the game as the Steelers failed to convert on a fourth down play.

Roethlisberger making his way back to the sideline just now. #DKPS #Steelers pic.twitter.com/4w3Df769in

— Matt Sunday (@mattsunday) December 9, 2018

Steelers vs. Raiders: Second-half live updates, injury news and score

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 4:55pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Raiders locking horns in Week 14. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Oakland Raiders in Week 14.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers vs. Raiders, Week 14: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 4:46pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Steelers’ first possession saw them already trailing 7-0, and were able to must just one first down before punting the ball back to Oakland. The Raiders’ first punt of the game set up Pittsburgh at the 33-yard line for their second possession. Ben Roethlisberger was able to connect with multiple threats on third down to move the offense to the two-yard line in the early portion of the second quarter. The next play saw Stevan Ridley dive into the endzone for the touchdown. Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, tying the game at 7-7.

Oakland’s next possession continued to emphasize none other than Jared Cook, but he wasn’t beating linebackers, but safety Morgan Burnett this time. Cook’s impressive day continued, but the Raiders were forced to settle for a Daniel Carlson field goal, making the score 10-7.

With 8:04 left in the half, Pittsburgh was given 30 yards as a gift in the form of two 15-yard facemask penalties, but when they got to the red-zone were forced to settle for a Chris Boswell field goal attempt. The kick wasn’t even close, and sailed wide right, keeping the score 10-7 with 4:29 left in the second quarter.

A defensive stop gave the Steelers the football back with 2:54 left in the half, and Roethlisberger moved the ball with ease, often to Vance McDonald, into the red-zone. Facing a 3rd and goal situation from the one yard line, Roethlisberger’s pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster looked like it was too high, but upon review it showed the second year stud got two feet down with possession.

Boswell banked in the point-after off the right upright to give the Steelers their first lead of the game, 14-10 heading into halftime.

Steelers vs. Raiders, Week 14: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 3:56pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 14 reeling. After back-to-back losses to the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, their playoff, and division, standings were hanging in the balance. On paper, it seemed as if the 2-10 Oakland Raiders would be the perfect medicine for what ails the Steelers.

However, the game isn’t played on paper.

After winning the coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the start of the second half, giving Jon Gruden’s group first possession to start the game. It didn’t take long for Derek Carr to move the team down the field, and this was due to tight end Jared Cook. The Raiders ran on first down, and then two passes to Cook moved Oakland into the red-zone. A few Doug Martin goal line carries equated in the Raiders touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

The Steelers’ first possession saw them already trailing 7-0, and were able to must just one first down before punting the ball back to Oakland. The Raiders’ first punt of the game set up Pittsburgh at the 33-yard line for their second possession.

Pittsburgh has the ball nearing the red-zone to end the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Raiders: First-half live updates, injury news and score

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 3:06pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Raiders locking horns in Week 14. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field in the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Oakland Raiders in Week 14.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Behind Enemy Lines: The recipe for success for a Raiders upset is difficult, but not impossible

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 2:27pm

Going behind enemy lines to get the low down on the Oakland Raiders as they now prepare for the Steelers in Week 14.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders are getting ready to square off at 4:25 p.m. ET in Week 14, and to get a better idea of what black-and-gold fans can expect from the Raiders when they visit the black hole, I reached out to Levi Damien, editor of Sliver and Black Pride, SB Nation’s Raiders website, to get a feel for what is going on on the other side of the fence.

I was able to ask him a few questions, and you can check out his answers below.

The Raiders are certainly an ‘interesting’ team this year. What is the fan base’s thoughts on Jon Gruden and the direction of the team?

I suppose there are some interesting things about this team. In the eye-brow-raise kind of way. Trade away the best defender in the league and then watch in wonder as the pass rush becomes historically bad and players start pleading for to be released or traded before midseason. There are, of course, a wide array of opinions about Jon Gruden and the directions of the team. Not everyone couples Gruden with their displeasure at the direction of the team. There have been some reports/rumors lately that perhaps it was Mark Davis who made the decision to trade Mack because he thought the team offered a fair offer and Mack’s agent, Joel Segal, balked. Gruden sure wasn’t making moves back in March and April that suggested the team was headed for another rebuild. But once Mack was traded, the rebuild was in full effect. Soon another former Reggie McKenzie top pick (Amari Cooper) was traded for a first round pick as well, removing two of the former building blocks of this team. We don’t know if Gruden has the ability to build a team up practically from scratch.

A lot has gone wrong in Oakland, but what has gone right? What are some positives Steelers fans should know/be concerned about heading into Sunday’s game?

The positives are Jared Cook and the cornerbacks. Other areas have had their moments, but not consistently. Derek Carr is coming off his best performance of the season against the Chiefs and their bad defense, but he hasn’t performed well against more stout defenses.

The Steelers haven’t won in Oakland since 1995. What are some reasons the Raiders can pull off yet another upset?

Carr will have to shake off what is sure to be another several sacks and stand tall in the pocket, when a pocket is there. That’s pretty much the key to everything for the Raiders. That may seem simplistic considering he plays the most important position in football, but that’s what it comes down to. The two rookie tackles aren’t going to help him out much. He was sacked three times last week against the Chiefs, and still managed to help Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook have big days while throwing for 3 touchdowns. The defense is not going to step up and make his life easier. If the Raiders are to have a chance, it will be because they won a high scoring game.

How do you think the Raiders will try and slow down the high-powered Pittsburgh offense?

They aren’t getting any pressure on Roethisberger, so he will have a lot of time to find a receiver. Tahir Whitehead will probably spy Roethlisberger a good portion of the time. From there it’s the corners trying to blanket the receivers to force Roethlisberger to either leave the pocket, or give the Raiders plate tectonic speed pass rushers time to get to him to force a bad throw or something.

LB Ola Adeniyi among the inactives for Steelers in Week 14 vs. Raiders

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 2:03pm

James Conner and Marcus Gilbert are the only injured names listed among the inactives in Week 14 as both Anthony Chickillo and Morgan Burnett are cleared to play against the Oakland Raiders.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will only be missing two offensive starters due to injury against the Oakland Raiders after both defensive players listed as questionable on Friday were left off inactive report in Week 14.

While James Conner and Marcus Gilbert will miss the matchup with injuries that sidelined them all week long in practice, Morgan Burnett and Anthony Chickillo will both play against the Raiders. Conner will be replaced by a combination of Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley and Matt Feiler will see his seventh consecutive start in place of Gilbert.

With the return of Burnett to the game day roster, Marcus Allen is back among the inactives, while Ola Adeniyi is something of a surprise as a healthy scratch as Cameron Sutton returns. They will join familiar faces in Mason Rudolph, Zach Banner and L.T. Walton as the core group of players who have been inactive most Sunday’s. Rudolph is now the only name on the roster who has yet to dress for a game this season.

Despite being listed with injuries earlier in the week, Ryan Switzer, Roosevelt Nix and Kam Canaday will all suit up against Oakland.

Predicting the Steelers’ Week 14 inactive list vs. the Raiders

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 1:23pm

Some players who were inactive in Week 13 aren’t even on the radar a week later.

For the first time all season a running back will be inactive and a receiver will not. As some players get back on the field, others will resume their normal roles as Sunday spectators.

Game Status

Out:

OT Marcus Gilbert (knee)

RB James Conner

Questionable:

LB Anthony Chickillo (Ankle)

S Morgan Burnett (back)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 14:

Definitely:

OT Marcus Gilbert- if they had to do over again, I’m sure the Steelers would have placed Marcus Gilbert on IR where he could return later in the season. Instead he takes up a roster spot which could be used for depth elsewhere.

RB James Conner- Steelers Nation is eager for Conner to return, hopefully next week. With him being ruled out this past Monday, it does not bode well for Connor to be ready for Week 15.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- with every game being important at this point, Rudolph should only be dressing in case of a terrible emergency.

OT Zach Banner- having Banner as an extra lineman on the 53-man roster may be why the Steelers didn’t place Marcus Gilbert on the IR. He’s the insurance policy who has cemented himself as a inactive list regular.

DT L.T. Walton- his role for 2018 has been clearly defined: be ready to step in if anyone is injured. Everyone is healthy this week, so Walton gets the day off.

S Marcus Allen- finally dressing for a game last week, Marcus Allen logged 17 defensive snaps with an additional nine on special teams. But since both Morgan Burnett and Cam Sutton appear to be back for this week, Marcus goes back to watching from the sidelines.

Possibly:

LB Anthony Chickillo- after being held out the first two days of practice, Chickillo was a full participant on Friday. With a questionable designation, he looks to be a game-time decision although he has already stated he will be ready to play.

CB Brian Allen- only seeing the field on special teams, Brian Allen most likely sits out when the entire secondary is healthy. Unless Chickillo or Burnet can’t go, Brian probably will be the odd man out.

Unlikely:

S Morgan Burnett- he was a full participant every day this week, but somehow Burnet still ended up with a questionable designation. I was surprised he was on the game status list at all as I see him being able to go.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Marcus Gilbert
  3. James Conner
  4. Zach Banner
  5. L.T. Walton
  6. Marcus Allen
  7. Brian Allen

As much as last week had a lot of possibilities, Week 14 is shaping up to be pretty straight forward. With only five wide receivers on the roster, they are not even mentioned this week. The only question comes down to Burnett’s and Chickillo’s injuries. If they both can go, which I think they will, then the Allens fill the final two spots.

...

Feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

No NFL team is as unsuccessful throwing the challenge flag as the Steelers over the past few years

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 12:20pm

Mike Tomlin is 0-9 when he opts to throw the challenge flag as of late, with his last successful challenge coming in Week 9 of 2015 against the Ravens.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had the greatest of luck when it comes to refereeing decisions in 2018, but while there has been nothing they could have done about most of the missed calls, the ability to throw a challenge flag has done little to help them either.

Mike Tomlin has challenged four plays so far this season and has yet to see one go his way, a repeat of the 2017 season when he also failed to win one. Looking back over the length of his career, it would appear the last time Pittsburgh won a challenge was back in Week 9 of 2015.

Since winning their last challenge, Tomlin is 0-9 throwing the red flag. Statistically the NFL’s least successful coach at challenges between 2015-2017, nothing has changed this season to improve his ranking. However, as poor as his recent form has been, it has not always been that way. In six of his 12 seasons in charge, Tomlin won 50 percent of his challenges or better and once ranked as one of the more successful in the league.

While it would be fair to note that a head coach rarely makes the decision to throw the flag on his own, he carries the blame when it was the wrong thing to do. The Steelers last failed challenge came just last Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, an arguably debatable decision to challenge the spot of the ball on a 3-and-10 catch by JuJu Smith-Schuster that netted 9-yards.

Tomlin may also have had a better record as of late if he had opted to challenge some calls that looked to be flag worthy. A diving 25-yard touchdown run that was incorrectly ruled down at the 1-yard line in Week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals is just one that comes to mind recently. A missed opportunity that came later in the game after Pittsburgh had already lost a challenge.

The Steelers 0-9 streak is not the worst in NFL history, but it is not far off. Marvin Lewis once lost 11 consecutive challenges and 14 out of 15 over the course of the 2006-07 seasons. As did John Fox with the Carolina Panthers in 2004-05. When compared to names like Andy Reid (46.9), John Harbaugh (45.91), Sean Payton (42.57) or Bill Belichick (40.35), Tomlin’s lifetime win rate of 45.71 percent is fairly respectable. That being said, Steeler fans would probably appreciate him winning a challenge in the not too distant future.

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