It’s probably a bad sign when your opponent puts a beating on you and then after the game says that it really wasn’t all that particularly difficult. But that is where the Pittsburgh Steelers are after being handed a 26-14 defeat that certainly felt as though it could have been a lot more lopsided than it ended up being.
The defense allowed Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to throw for more yards and at a higher efficiency in terms of yards per attempt than he has ever thrown for before against the Steelers. About his performance after the game, he didn’t really mince words.
“It’s not like today was the toughest Pittsburgh Steeler games I’ve ever played”, he said. “I’ve played really really tough football games against these guys and probably thrown for 150 but I take pride in some of those games because I battled really really hard”.
Joe Flacco: “It’s not like today was the toughest Pittsburgh Steeler games I’ve ever played. I’ve played really really tough football games against these guys and probably thrown for 150 but I take pride in some of those games because I battled really really hard.”
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) October 1, 2018
He evidently doesn’t feel as though he had to work particularly hard for this one, in which he completed 28 of 42 passes for 363 yards and two interceptions while not facing a ton of pressure. He was sacked twice, though that was as he was attempting to scramble out of the pocket.
I can imagine that this is about the last thing Steelers defenders would want to hear out of Flacco, who essentially implied that they were soft, and that it was too easy to beat them. He seemed to suggest that it was almost hard to take pride in his numbers coming out of this game because it wasn’t much of a challenge based on what the defense presented him.
That more than anything should, quite frankly, be a source of humiliation for the Steelers that the defensive players take to heart. This if Joe Flacco, the longtime starting quarterback of your biggest rival, and he just said that you didn’t put up much of a fight en route to the best statistical game he has ever had against you.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that defensive captain Cameron Heyward said that he was confident the defense would play better than it had been because it really couldn’t get much worse after the Kansas City Chiefs had their way with him.
Well, it hasn’t necessarily gotten worse, but it certainly hasn’t gotten much better, either. It’s hard for even me to share Mike Tomlin’s confidence in the surging tide of progress for this defensive unit, and I assume the regular readers of this site know that I tend to be on the more optimistic end of the Steelers fandom spectrum. Especially after Joe Flacco calls you soft.