The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was pretty pitiful Sunday night in the team’s home loss to the Baltimore Ravens and especially on third downs. In total, the Steelers offense converted just 2 of their 12 total third downs during game and in the second half the unit failed to convert any of their 6 opportunities.
The first third down opportunity of the second half against the Ravens included the only pass of the six third down attempts that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had during the second half and that completion to wide receiver Ryan Switzer resulted in a loss of 5-yards thanks mainly to Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs sniffing it out. During his weekly Tuesday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan, Roethlisberger was asked to recap that particular play that wound up losing yardage.
“It was actually a tight end screen to the right, it’s kind of a twofold play,” Roethlisberger began explaining. “We had a tight end screen to the right and then a wide receiver screen to the left and so you kind of pick your best side. So, they were doubling Vance [McDonald], so that side’s pretty much out of it. So, your other option is to throw it out to Switz out there when he’s got blocking. And we had a good look because there were two DBs and the third one was deep, so we have a man for a man to block.
“And when I called for the snap, I felt like I was turning a double play in baseball, that’s how fast. You felt like it was getting out there quick and Suggs shot right up the field and got right into throwing lane. And so, you see him, you got to kind of throw it around him, but it ended up going almost backwards and Switz has to catch it. You’re right, it ends up looking bad and I think it was a good play call, maybe not our best one, but a good play call, but that’s a Hall of Fame guy seeing it, reading it, who knows what his thought was, but he made that play.”
Below is a look at that play from several different angles and as you can see, Switzer should have only had one Ravens defensive back to beat had Roethlisberger gotten the football to him where he expected to catch it, so he could tuck it and start up the field quickly. Also, you can see how tight end Vance McDonald is indeed double-covered on the right side after he releases.
The Ravens defense certainly seemed to be one step ahead of the Steelers offense most of the game Sunday night and especially in the second half. While Roethlisberger thought the above third down play call was a good one, Suggs obviously was tipped off by something he saw and his reaction after the snap of the football was enough to cause a failed third down by the Steelers offense.
Roethlisberger’s next five third down pass attempts in the game all failed to find their mark and one was even intercepted.