Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hard to Stay Optimistic after Loss in Baltimore

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hard to Stay Optimistic after Loss in Baltimore

Article excerpt

Mike Tomlin, uncharacteristically, reminded everyone after the Steelers' loss in Baltimore where his team stands.

"We're a 4-4 team and we accept responsibility for that," the coach began, "but we also recognize that we're still tied for the division lead. And there is optimism associated with that."

Oh? Where?

You would have a difficult time finding any of that around Pittsburgh today, or maybe even in the Steelers locker room. Three consecutive losses will do that, especially two of them to teams with losing records. To borrow a favorite Tomlin phrase, the arrow is pointing down for the Steelers.

They did not just tumble back down into a tie for the AFC North Division lead, they helped resuscitate Baltimore's season that was on the brink of collapse after four losses in a row. Instead of putting a foot on the Ravens' necks and putting them out of their misery, the Steelers tossed them a life preserver.

Their offense played so poorly that it even had the loquacious Ramon Foster nearly speechless.

"I'm just flustered right now," the veteran guard said at one point.

And on his team losing three in a row, "You just . I'm going to be honest with you, I'm a little out of it on this one, man. We can't be this type of team. We got the talent, we have to execute. We have to be the team we want to be, not just say it."

The Steelers offense boasts one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and four players who are or have been All-Pros - Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro. Yet that offense ranks 12th in the NFL in yards per game, 16th in points per game, 25th in rushing, eighth in passing.

Are they overrated on offense?

"I don't think so," DeCastro said. "It's a simple game, a team game, it takes all 11. We have to make sure we're all on the same page. That's the key. It doesn't matter how good you are if you can't get on the same page and get the job done.

"It's frustrating. I can't really put my finger on it, but when we look up there and there's two first downs in the third quarter, what do we have to do?

"It's depressing. Probably guys taking turns not getting the job done. …

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