PITTSBURGH: Bud Dupree slammed the turf in anger, effectively conscious of what the ache in his proper knee meant.
One unhealthy step within the fourth quarter in opposition to Baltimore on Wednesday put an finish to the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker’s season. Maybe his time with the one franchise he’s performed for too.
While coach Mike Tomlin was fast to level out his staff was stinking it up effectively earlier than (Dupree) went down,” the sight of the relentlessly upbeat Dupree limping to the locker room solid a pall over a sideline already struggling to seek out the enough emotional vitality wanted to place away the undermanned Ravens.
Pittsburgh ultimately slogged its approach to a 19-14 win to enhance to 11-0, a victory that felt very very similar to the other. Tomlin initially ripped his staff for a junior varsity degree efficiency. And whereas he struck a extra conciliatory tone on Thursday, the Steelers appear to be using on twin tracks.
On one, the weeks go and their report stays excellent. On the opposite, every recreation appears to focus on an imperfection that would convey a doubtlessly historic season to a screeching halt.
The Ravens, minus practically a dozen starters due to COVID-19 protocols, attacked Pittsburgh’s offense by urgent up on the huge receivers in an effort to disrupt quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s timing. The strategy contributed to a handful of drops and restricted the Steelers to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Even although Baltimore backup quarterback Robert Griffin III posed no menace whereas passing, the Ravens nonetheless managed 128 yards speeding and transformed two third-and-longs on the bottom in opposition to a protection that whiffed at essential occasions, together with a badly missed sort out by security Terrell Edmunds that sprung Baltimore huge receiver Marquise Brown for a 70-yard landing that drew Baltimore inside 5 late within the fourth quarter.
Yet as his anger ebbed, Tomlin tried to take a big-picture view. His staff has absorbed no matter 2020 has thrown at it, be it scheduling chaos, season-ending accidents to outstanding starters comparable to inside linebacker Devin Bush or last-second COVID-19 outcomes that pressure Tomlin to regulate the lineups simply hours earlier than kickoff.
Now, it’s time to see if rookie Alex Highsmith can fill in for Dupree in the identical method that Robert Spillane did when Bush went down in mid-October. The Steelers considered Highsmith, who performed as a defensive finish in faculty at Charlotte, as a longish-term undertaking after they chosen him within the third spherical. With Dupree now down for the yr and with free company looming in March, the longer term has abruptly grow to be the current for Highsmith.
We are ringing Alex Highsmiths bell now, so it will likely be thrilling to observe him reply to it, Tomlin stated. It will even be thrilling to observe his development as a result of development is related to expertise. No doubt in upcoming weeks he might be gaining plenty of that.
The finish consequence. That’s just about it. While Tomlin and his gamers refused to position the blame for his or her lackluster effort in opposition to the Ravens on the COVID-19 delays that pushed kickoff again from Thanksgiving night time to almost every week later, Pittsburgh regarded very very similar to a staff that felt off-kilter.
We actually havent confirmed our full offense but, huge receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster stated. I feel we performed video games that we begin off tremendous gradual, we performed video games we begin off super-fast and we simply dont end on the finish, however on the finish of the day a win is a win and we preserve transferring ahead.
The particular groups have been a shiny spot throughout the first two months of the season. Not a lot recently. Ray-Ray McCloud’s fumbled punt arrange Baltimore’s first landing and allowed the Ravens to briefly take the lead. Kicker Chris Boswell has missed three extra-point makes an attempt and a discipline objective over the previous 4 weeks after lacking only one kick an additional level by means of Pittsburgh’s first seven video games.
Wide receiver James Washington can typically get misplaced within the shuffle amongst a deep group of targets at Roethlisberger’s disposal. Still, he confirmed why the staff stays excessive on him when he fought off three defenders to give you a third-down heave within the closing minutes for a 16-yard acquire that helped the Steelers run out the clock.
Given the spectacular begin to his profession, the usual rookie huge receiver Chase Claypool set for himself has now grow to be remarkably excessive. There was a minor setback in opposition to the Ravens. He did not haul in a deep go from Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh’s first drive and later dropped a go within the crimson zone. Still, he drew a 36-yard go interference penalty on Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey, one thing that’s taking place often as opposing defenses attempt to gradual him down.
Cornerback Steven Nelson underwent an MRI on his knee. Tomlin provided no timeline on the return of heart Maurkice Pouncey and operating again James Conner, each of whom are on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist.
68. The variety of consecutive video games through which the Steelers have had not less than one sack. They can tie the NFL report of 69 straight video games with a sack set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 1999-2003 in opposition to Washington (4-7).
Pittsburgh can clinch its first playoff berth since 2017 with a win on Monday. The Steelers might additionally lock up the AFC North with a win mixed with a loss by Cleveland and different outcomes elsewhere that may give Pittsburgh the power of schedule tiebreaker over the Browns.
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