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‘Say Less And Come Ready For Film Tomorrow,’ Heyward Advises As Everyone Must Own Their Mistakes

There are so many ways to repeat the same things after a loss, and the veterans in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room are finding that out the hard way this year. Dropping their eighth game already in Week 14, they are only one game away from a losing season, which would be the first for the franchise since 2003.

So what is there to do at this point? “Say less and come ready for film tomorrow,” defensive captain Cameron Heyward told reporters after yesterday’s game, via the team’s website. “I screwed up on a numerous amount of plays trying to do too much. That’s what we all did, and as a leader I’ve got to take more account for it.”

One play in particular for which he took the blame was Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins’ early 44-yard run in the first quarter, which directly led to their only touchdown of the game on the very next play.

In a rather uncommon alignment, Heyward was actually lined up on the play as a 0-tech nose tackle, which means directly head-on across from the opposing center. Larry Ogunjobi was lined up to his left and Chris Wormley was off to his right. He got double-teamed off the snap and tried to spin his way free, but out of his gap, leaving it wide open for Dobbins and an 18-wheeler to plow through unabated.

While that may have been the longest play allowed by the defense on the day, however, it was far from the only lapse. Really, the death by 1000 papercuts approach was even more harmful. And the mistakes were clearly not limited to the defense—or the offense.

This was an all-phases loss for the Steelers, especially when you consider that they lost by two points in a game in which they allowed a field goal attempt to be blocked. That one play alone could have been the difference between a win or a loss—and a reminder not to take special teams performance for granted.

There’s going to be a lot of missed assignment tape to go over in the film sessions this week for the Steelers, and nobody’s going to come out unscathed. Certainly not Heyward. Not even Minkah Fitzpatrick or T.J. Watt, or George Pickens.

There are always going to be missed assignments. Every team’s goal is simply to minimize the number. But for a team like the Steelers with as little margin for error as they so often play with, the level of quality in yesterday’s tape was particularly inexcusable, especially for the more veteran culprits who should know better.

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