Steelers regrouping after strange loss to Ravens
PITTSBURGH (AP) Tough losses are part of the job. Weird losses too.
The Pittsburgh Steelers managed to endure both Thursday night, outplaying the Ravens for the better part of three hours only to allow a series of mistakes – most of them self-inflicted – dissolve into a 23-20 overtime defeat that will make their long weekend off that much more unbearable.
”You’ve got to let it hurt,” quarterback Michael Vick said. ”It’s part of what motivates you and makes you want to go out and do it again. You’ve got to let it burn.”
That shouldn’t be a problem for the Steelers (2-2), who let a chance to bury the Ravens at 0-4 get away when Josh Scobee missed a pair of late field goals in regulation and then the offense botched two fourth-down attempts in Baltimore territory in overtime.
Scobee joined his teammates for a brief walkthrough on Friday, though his job status is tenuous at best. Acquired in a trade with Jacksonville in August, Scobee has made just 6 of 10 field goals on the season, including missing two into the open end of always tricky Heinz Field in the fourth quarter on Thursday that gave Baltimore (1-3) just enough time to tie it in regulation.
The Ravens then won it on Justin Tucker’s 52-yard field goal into the decidedly easier closed end of the stadium with 5:08 to go in the extra period. While well aware of an opportunity missed, the Steelers tried to stay positive. It wasn’t exactly easy.
”The Super Bowl wasn’t decided,” safety Mike Mitchell said. ”There’s still plenty of games for us to improve and ultimately get to where we want to be.”
Namely, on the other end of what will most likely be a string of close games while playing without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who remains out indefinitely with a sprained left knee.
Vick was steady if not spectacular against the Ravens. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 124 yards with a touchdown, ran for 33 more and even threw a block on Le’Veon Bell’s zig-zag touchdown run in the second quarter. Making only his fourth start in the last two years, Vick also was stopped well short on a designed quarterback run on fourth-and-2 from the Baltimore 39 on Pittsburgh’s first possession of overtime and overthrew Antonio Brown on fourth-and-1 from the Baltimore 33 a few minutes later.
A conversion in either case would have extended the drive and give Scobee a better shot at redemption, and Vick knows it.
”I’d like to have that last play again,” Vick said. ”I was just thinking the ball was going to go where I want it to go and sometimes, you’ve got to aim.”
Brown, whose streak of 35 games with at least five receptions and 50 yards receiving came to an end, called it the most frustrating night of his career. The All-Pro let a potential touchdown get away when he couldn’t come down with a Vick pass into the end zone in the second quarter, a play that required Brown to dive with a Baltimore defender shrouding him.
Vick, signed in late August, took most of the blame for not hooking up with Brown more often. Brown’s 42 yards receiving were his fewest since he had only 22 in the 2012 regular season finale against Cleveland.
”Ben and Antonio have chemistry that’s out of this world,” Vick said. ”In these short amount of weeks I can only do so much but certainly we’ve got time to get on the same page.”
NOTES: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant participated in a brief walkthrough following the end of his four-week suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bryant will speak to the media next week. … Mitchell said he’s not concerned with Ravens WR Steve Smith’s postgame comments that Mitchell was on Smith’s ”hit list” after the two former teammates exchanged words when Smith was drilled in the back by Pittsburgh LB Lawrence Timmons in the second half. ”Steve’s an emotional guy and he’s used that emotion for years to be a great player,” Mitchell said. ”That’s something that he uses to try and fuel himself.”