Somewhat lost in the shuffle from Thursday night’s loss, even as it pertains to special teams, is the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new punter, first-year player Jordan Berry, had a bit of a rough outing himself.
Even though his night was substantially overshadowed by the tumultuous performance delivered by veteran kicker Josh Scobee, who missed two field goals to give him four total in four games and has sparked a search for a new kicker, Berry had easily his worst of four games thus far into his career against the Ravens.
On the night, Berry punted a total of six times, posting an average of just 37.5 yards, though two were fielded inside the 20-yard line. His longest punt of the night was just 51 yards, a far cry from the booming punts that he had during the preseason that won him the competition.
The Steelers started the game with the ball and got to just the 23-yard line before being forced to punt for the first time. Berry’s punt traveled just 37 yards to the Ravens’ 40-yard line, where it was fair caught, but the defense managed to respond with a three-and-out of its own.
Following a second three-and-out drive at the start of the second quarter on a drive that stalled this time at the 21-yard line, Berry’s second punt only reached the Ravens’ 41-yard line after traveling a total of 38 yards before being fair caught.
His third punt only made it 32 yards in the air, but it may have been his most successful punt of the night, as he induced a fair catch at the nine-yard line after the offense responded to an interception returned to Baltimore’s 36-yard line with another three-and-out that actually went backwards to the 41.
Berry’s first punt of the second half came from the back of his own end zone, as the Steelers were pushed back all the way to their own seven-yard line following a pair of sacks taken. His efforts only produced a 40-yard gross, however, with an effective net of just 21 after the punt was returned 14 yards to the 33, with a penalty on the coverage unit adding an additional five yards.
Later, from the Steelers’ own 19, the first-year punter booted one 41 yards to the Ravens’ 40, where it was fair caught, continuing a theme in which the Ravens began their offensive drive with quality field position.
Berry’s longest punt of the night came midway the fourth quarter, on which he was able to get one off for 51 yards, but only after the returner elected not to field it. The punt took a friendly bounce several yards toward the Ravens’ end zone.
While some of his punts may have been affected by the end, Berry’s efforts of Thursday night certainly did not help a young defense that actually responded quite well from the number of short fields that they had to defend courtesy of the punter’s failure to flip the field time and again.