While the Pittsburgh Steelers sit licking their wounds following another bitter loss, they can at least take solace in the fact that misery loves company. The Cincinnati Bengals did manage to win on Thursday, but the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens both joined their AFC North rival in the loss column—all of them losing in the final minute of the game.
None were as ugly as the scene in Buffalo, where the Bills erased a 17-point deficit to come back and win. And it was sparked in part by a decision by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to attempt to take a seven-point lead rather than three by going for it on 4th and goal from the two with 4:15 to play.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s pass was intercepted in the end zone, to boot, so Buffalo, then in a 20-20 game, also got to start from the 20 rather than the two. And the Ravens’ defense could not stop them. They faced only one third-down play, and that was 3rd and 2. Whatever happened exactly, cornerback Marcus Peters was not happy about it at the end of the game, and had to be separated from Harbaugh:
Peters missed all of the 2021 season with a torn ACL, and he also sat out the opener this year as he continued his recovery. The Ravens have now lost two of the three games in which he’s played. Said Harbaugh after the game about that exchange:
Yes, emotions run high. We’re on the same page, he and I. We have a great relationship; we have an honest relationship. I love him, I hope he still loves me; we’ll see. I’m a Marcus Peters guy.
I think I can say with confidence that this isn’t the first time a player has ever been upset with a head coach on the field. We don’t know exactly what said things off—if, for example, Harbaugh might have said anything first, or if Peters was just livid about his decision-making at the end of the game—but it happened, it’s out there, and…nothing will come of it.
These are highly competitive individuals in a highly competitive environment, and they just had a very frustrating meltdown. I’m sure Peters wasn’t the only one who felt like yelling and taking his frustration out at somebody. And there’s no shame in losing to the Bills.
The Ravens have the Bengals up next at home, and then they face the New York Giants, who are one of the surprise teams of the season so far. Then they host Cleveland before a pair of NFC South road games against the Buccaneers and the Saints heading into a Week 10 bye.
Where will the division shake out by then? The Steelers probably have the hardest schedule between now and then. The Browns will be getting Deshaun Watson on the field not long after that. Can the Bengals finally gel and put things together? Can the Steelers stop tripping over themselves? Will the Ravens stop blowing huge leads?