On Wednesday, DL Cam Heyward spoke to the media on Thursday and talked about his experience from last week’s emotional game at home on Christmas Eve against the Las Vegas Raiders to honor the late Franco Harris and answered questions about Pittsburgh’s upcoming rematch on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
When Heyward was asked about the bad day the run defense had against the Ravens back in Week 14, Heyward was pretty blunt on what happened in that game compared to what the run defense has done since the bye week.
“I didn’t say my gap,” Heyward said to the media Thursday on video from Steelers.com. “We didn’t get off blocks as a group. It’s 16-14 and to end the game, they need to win four downs or three downs, and we didn’t win those three downs. And they were able to run the clock out and that weighs on me more than anything because we didn’t give our offense another chance to go down there and win it.”
HC Mike Tomlin mentioned in his weekly press conference on Tuesday that he didn’t think that the Ravens game a few weeks ago was a turning point for the run defense but was rather a “bad day” at the office. A “bad day” was surrendering 215 rushing yards on the ground to a Ravens team that was down to their third-string rookie UDFA QB with the defense knowing that Baltimore was going to run the ball but couldn’t do anything to stop what was coming right at them.
While Pittsburgh’s run defense was abysmal that Sunday afternoon, they have been stout since then, holding the running games of Carolina and Las Vegas in-check when both have been shredded opposing defenses in lead up to their respective matchups with the Steelers.
With Lamar Jackson likely out of Sunday’s matchup for Baltimore, Pittsburgh will benefit from playing in a near exact same scenario as the first meeting with the Ravens in Week 14. Tomlin may have mentioned that the film from that game may be in the can, but hopefully Heyward and the rest of the defense has gleaned some valuable intel from rewatching the game following the heart-breaking loss as the Steelers attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive for another week while playing spoiler to their division rival.