In all actuality, the Steelers’ performance last night paralleled the entire season for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers started the game slowly falling behind 10-0 going into the half. The offense couldn’t manage a third down conversion and the defense couldn’t stop the Ravens’ on third down. Quite frankly, nothing the Steelers tried was successful.
Ben Roethlisberger‘s passes we’re firing off the mark, Troy Polamalu‘s blitzing was predictable and ineffective, and even reliable kicker Shaun Suisham couldn’t do something that he has literally done a million times — approach a field goal attempt.
Nothing was going the Steelers’ way.
However, for all the deficiencies this team has one thing has been true all season — this team never gives up. Thursday night’s game was no different.
In the second half the Steelers’ broken defense simply bent more than it broke, surrendering only field goals, and the offense began to string together drives that led to points.
With the improvement in the second half it all led to one of the longest, strangest and downright confusing endings to a game that you’ll ever see.
When the dust settled it was the Ravens pulling out a two point victory. After all, would you expect anything less when eight of the last ten meetings between these two teams have been settled by a field goal or less?
For the Steelers, this loss was more than just a loss to a bitter rival. No, this loss was a crushing blow dealt to a team that had clawed their way back into the playoff picture after one of their worst starts in franchise history.
Just as the Steelers’ slow start in the game Thursday eventually stalled their comeback efforts, one can’t help but wonder if the Steelers’ playoffs hopes will come up just short just like the two point conversion that fell to the turf after hitting Emmanuel Sanders directly in the hands.
For the Steelers and their fan base, the day after Thanksgiving will be Black Friday — but for all the wrong reasons.
Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz